The other important thing about CD-Roms of course is that they are interactive. Learning is no longer a matter of passively receiving information; you can become actively involved in the process, answering quizzes, manipulating images, summoning up pictures or music and pasting together your own notebook of words, images and sounds on screen.
(Tony Blair, interviewed on A Week in Politics, Channel 4, 18 February 1995)
Interactivity is a facet which is frequently mentioned in justifying ICT's educational potential. There is talk of children 'dancing in cyberspace' (John Redwood, TES, 14 April 1995) with 'Hey Presto - Encarta wallpaper!' (Davitt 1999) 'Interactive sounds as if it must be a good thing; modern but approachable, hi-tech but homely. Put alongside words such as "multimedia" and "Pentium", and you're part of the future' (Coughlan 1997).
Computers do offer colour, movement, sound and pictures to learners. This can make learning materials look much more attractive to pupils. Moreover, as Bill Gates points out (Guardian, 2 March 1995), interactivity means that 'the person controls what he or she sees or hears'; using hypertext links, learners can negotiate their own - individual - pathways through learning materials.
The problem with this is that in terms of their interaction with the materials, learners sometimes do fairly low-level, meretricious or even pointless things with the data given, either uncritically accumulating information, or using hyperlinks to browse 'pinball' fashion around a topic, often using hyperlinks to avoid going near screens which have too much text on them (Hillis 2002). Josie Taylor of the Open University