Computers in Education: A Brief History

By Molnar, Andrew S. | T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), June 1997 | Go to article overview

Computers in Education: A Brief History


Molnar, Andrew S., T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)


The history of computers in education has been variously characterized as an "accidental revolution" or "unthinking man and his thinking machines." Others have said that the computer revolution has changed the adage that "necessity is the mother of invention" to "in a computer world, invention is the mother of necessity." However characterized, it is clear that innovators in this field have created some of the most provocative and stimulating ideas in the history of education. What follows is a brief chronological history of some of the more interesting ideas and developments.

A CONFLUENCE OF CHANGES

Broadly speaking, the two major functions of education are to transmit the culture, values and lessons of the past to the current generation; and to prepare our children for the world in which they will live. Preparing children for the world in which they will live is becoming more difficult than ever. In retrospect, there has been a confluence of changes that have significantly impacted the direction of modern education.

1. The Global Economy

Modern, high-speed computers and telecommunications have facilitated the rapid movement of financial resources, goods and services, and have created an interdependence among the world's economies. To benefit from these markets, nations must be competitive, and to be competitive they must have a well-educated work force.

New, science-based, information industries are emerging in which knowledge and human capital are as important as industrial plants. Daniel Bell says a major characteristic of these industries is that they derive from work in theoretical science and are dependent on the codification of theoretical knowledge. The significance of this development is that if we choose to maintain our current standard of living, our knowledge workers must compete in an international market and must have a good understanding of science.[1]

2. The Scientific Information Explosion

We are experiencing a scientific information explosion of unprecedented proportions. Today, scientists and engineers use computers to access thousands of rapidly growing data bases that store numbers, words, maps, chemical and physical structures; and they search them millions of times a year. The base of scientific knowledge today is huge. It is estimated that it would take 22 centuries to read the annual biomedical research literature or seven centuries to read a year's chemical literature.[2]

Not only is the volume of new information large, but it is growing exponentially. Rapid changes in many fields are making basic knowledge and skills obsolete. Knowledge is continually being modified and basic concepts and theories are being revised. New theories emerge as new discoveries offer new ways of looking at the data. Disciplines are merging and hyphenated sub-disciplines are being formed.

Herbert Simon, Nobel Laureate, observed that the developments in science and information processing technologies have changed the meaning of the verb, "to know." It used to mean "having information stored in one's memory." It now means the process of having access to information and knowing how to use it.[3]

3. The Emergence of Cognitive Science

There has been a major paradigm shift in education from theories of "learning" to theories of "cognition." Cognitive science approaches teaching and learning in a different way. It addresses how the human, as an information processor, functions and uses information. Rather than focusing on teaching facts through expository lectures or demonstrations, the emphasis is, instead, on developing higher-order, thinking and problem-solving skills.

The cognitive approach is important because it recognizes human information processing strengths and weaknesses, and the limits of human perception and memory in coping with the information explosion. It focuses, instead, organizing information to fit human capacity, and has changed the emphasis in education from learning to thinking. …

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

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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Computers in Education: A Brief History
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.