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Computers And Education (From Mr NANA, Provincial High School of Kaya)

Even among educators who worry about too much tilt to technology, there is growing agreement that a computers is a powerful motivator of a school-age child. Students with access to a micro spend more studying and solving problems. Those who write at their keyboards compose more freely and revise their work more the roughly. “It’s not just a matter of number crunching”, argues Arden Bement, a vice president of T.R.W. “It’s a new way of thinking. The kids who don’t get indoctrinated to computers by seventh grade are not going to develop the same prodiciency.” Says Andrew Molnar, computer education specialist at the National Science Foundation: “Power is not distributed evenly now and computers will broaden that gap”.

Other observers disagree, seeing instead a potential educational deviling device. “In the long run all God’s children will have computers”, says computer consultant Charles Lecht. “Students who used to fail because they could not master geometry the first time around will be able to turn to the computer for relief. The machines will emerge as great equalizers. But the majority in the field worry about the near-term specter of the rich taking control of the technology while the poor play video games.

Steven Jobs, the 27-year-old chairman of Apple Computer, had proposed donating a free computer to every school in the country provided Congress grant manufacturers the same tax break that would be available if they gave he equipment to a university. The companies that took advantage of the law would then have been able to do a public service, while also building future markets.

But Jobs is now backing off, unhappy with various limitations in the version of the tax break that has passed the House and is awaiting Senate action. If he were to get the bill he wants the delivery of thousands of free machines could help to even out the inequities. “Computers will be taught in most schools eventually”, says Jobs. “But that’s five to ten years from. The question is, why wait?

From Time, November 15, 1982
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