Computer Hype

Melinda Reynolds
July 30, 1999

         As we head into the new millennium schools and teachers are going through a huge

transformation. Through the years classrooms have gone from textbooks , radio receivers,

televisions and now computers. Our social mantra has gone from "a chicken in every pot" to "a

computer on every desk".(1995) All the while the media hype is that all "education" is just a mouse

click away. While the computer and the Internet have the potential to level the educational and

social landscape, do we have the teachers and social conscience to do that?

      Telecommunication, multimedia and information processing is rushing into many classrooms

across America. There is the possibility that the Internet could become to the 90's what Sesame

Street became to the 70's. Both are colorful and fun, giving the illusion that by watching a screen

you can acquire information without work. Both have been hyped as a way to make children

creative and smart. The idea that a computer on every desk will mean effective and meaningful

learning will take place, is not going to happen by chance. It will take years of training and

incorporating technology into our classrooms. Teachers must be highly trained educators. It will be

up to the teachers to filter and channel all the information. Dealing with new software, programs

and applications will require a change in teaching strategies. Although the computer can encourage

enlightened study, it can also foster thoughtless wanderings.(1997)

      At what price will this come? Not just financially to the school districts to maintain systems

and train teachers, but to society? As we head into the new millennium, will we be divided into the

haves and the have nots when it comes to computer technology? Most upper class suburban schools

have access to up to date computer technology. Many lower class areas only have access to outdated

equipment or community centers with no instructions on how to use the technology. While the

computer literate will be able to communicate globally, the less privileged will be in the cyber

woods along with rural classmates who have little access to the computer. Although advocates stress

video conferencing for a "virtual" rural classroom, this can also be seen as another form of

television. No interaction. Without the properly trained teachers for these rural students, they will

be left behind on the "Information Highway". Another gap to consider is the one that has been

created between the young and the "less willing to learn". This issue becomes more serious when

those less willing to learn are teachers in school.

       As we continue to use computers in our classrooms in the years to come, we must be aware of

there short comings. "What is wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology"(Steven

Jobs-Apple Computer). Computers will only be valuable as a classroom tool if the teachers who are

using them in the schools are thoroughly trained. We must explore new ways of delivering education

to students and make it available to all. As a society we will have to make sure that technology will

be used as a tool of empowerment and not as one of repression.(1999)


Drey,Mark(1999).With Liberty and Justice for Me.Atlantic

Hancock,LynNell;Wingert,Pat(1995).The haves and the have not's.
Newsweek{Online},Vol. 125 Issue 9.Available:

Oppenheimer,Todd.(1997) The Computer Delusion. Atlantic