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The Myth of the Educational Computer

Holmes, WN 1999 , 'The Myth of the Educational Computer' , Computer, vol. 32, no. 9 , pp. 36-42 , doi:

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To dispel the delusion that the computer by itself can educate, the author believes computer professionals need to press for reforms that properly exploit digital technology in the classroom. He feels that the current computer-as-educator delusion is harmful and yet seems to go largely unquestioned, even by computing professionals. Despite the fact that good technical work is being done to develop course-ware, what seems to be missing is a full appreciation of the relationship between technology and education. Literature on the subject suggests that much of the work done by computing professionals is isolated from what generally goes on in schools. The computing profession's focus seems to be on how to find smart ways to use computers in the classroom, not on how to solve the really important problems deplored in the educational literature. The author claims that if the profession was doing all its educational computing work in close partnership with professional educators, more computing professionals would be pressing for the reforms needed to exploit digital technology properly. The primary responsibility for what happens in schools must remain with the professional educators. But educators need the support of the computing profession to ensure that they are fully and properly trained and supported in their use of computers.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Holmes, WN
Keywords: educational computing, drill and practice, simulation, academic gaming, teaching responsibility
Journal or Publication Title: Computer
ISSN: 0018-9162
DOI / ID Number:
Additional Information:

This essay has been more formally published as Essay 3.1 of the author's book "Computers and People" (Wiley, 2006). This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

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