An Educational Infrastructure for Microcomputers in Ontario

By McLean, Robert S. | T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), December-January 1988 | Go to article overview

An Educational Infrastructure for Microcomputers in Ontario


McLean, Robert S., T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)


An Educational Infrastructure For Microcomputers in Ontario

In 1981, the Ontario Ministry of Education set out to develop an infrastructure of microcomputers in the schools of the province. In doing so, it wanted to attain several goals simultaneously: provide state-of-the-art microcomputer facilities for schools; facilitate development of educational software consistent with the ministry's curriculum guidelines; reinforce the ministry's philosophy of education; and stimulate the Canadian computer and software development industries. But it had to work within two major constraints: local autonomy of boards of education and a procurement policy that's open to a wide variety of suppliers.

This article describes the development and current state of this initiative, identifying a number of points at which educational philosophy, policy or theory have affected the results.

In 1981, only three years after personal computers first appeared, the Ontario Ministry of Education sensed that microcomputers could be an important component of education, both as an object of study and as a tool for students and teachers. The ministry recognized that a very small proportion of teachers and other school personnel were already quite involved with microcomputers and that some schools were eagerly acquiring the first-generation machines. These acquisitions were uneven, with different boards of education opting for different brands and models, usually incompatible with each other. Educational software was in its infancy, and many hardware acquisitions were made without a clear provision for educational software or a plan for use.

From a provincial point of new, the situation in 1981 was mild chaos. The ministry wanted to encourage uses of microcomputers that supported its curriculum guidelines and was willing to underwrite the development of software for that purpose. The microcomputers in schools would need to be able to run the software, but the wide variety of microcomputers being purchased did not have a common software environment. Indeed, most micros had quite minimal characteristics compared with what the ministry thought would be necessary to provide lasting support for the type of computer applications it envisioned.

Additionally, the Ontario government felt that since computers were gaining popularity and were all from foreign suppliers, there was an opportunity to develop an indigenous educational microcomputer industry. It decided to promote the development of a Canadian Educational Microcomputer. It began with a study of the needs and desires of computer-using educators and proposed that a consortium of Canadian high-technology companies would design and build the resulting computer. The study was hastily conducted in the summer of 1981 and resulted in a "wish list" containing virtually every feature known to educators at this time. The consortium of companies tried to organize in 1982 but encountered hard economic times and difficulties in operating.

Meanwhile, the ministry refined the wish list into a set of specifications that it issued in March 1983: the "Functional Requirements for Microcomputers for Educational Use in Ontario Schools--Stage I." Simultaneously, it announced that one company, CEMCORP, had agreed to design and build the first microcomputer meeting these specifications. In return, the ministry agreed to guarantee purchases of $10 million of such a microcomputer if it met the specifications.

The Ministry of Education wished to stimulate the development of a microcomputing infrastructure in schools but did not want to interfere with local autonomy. Therefore, it did not actually require that schools follow its specifications when acquiring microcomputers. Instead, it established incentives by making purchase of microcomputers that met its specifications eligible for a special higher level of grant, called a "Recognized Extraordinary Expenditure" (REE) grant. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

An Educational Infrastructure for Microcomputers in Ontario
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.