By Nick Evans (auth.)
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Additional resources for The Future of the Microcomputer in Schools
It is possible for the computer to alter the very relationship which exists between pupil and teacher. Whereas it is true to say that the teacher is usually the provider and the pupil the receptor of knowledge, when the computer makes that communication triangular, adding a third element to the classroom interaction, then new opportunities arise. Despite the fact that the teacher has probably created the material being used by the computer, or certainly has close knowledge of its content and its likely direction, the pupil is able, even knowing this, to join with the teacher in an 'us against the computer' scenario where the combined forces of children and teacher tackle the problem set by the machine.
Our clumsy databases which we have used in schools to store facts about birds or animals, history or geography are all very well, but they rely on the child's ability to interrogate, to guide a search and to follow a line of questioning in what is often a stilted and almost alien language: QUERY NAME SUB 'gull' AND HABITAT NIDENT 'sea' AND SIZEGT7 All of this is an attempt to find all birds containing 'gull' in their name that live on land and are larger than seven of the units of size measurement!
It is self-evident that the quantity and level of information needed in a primary school is not the same as that needed for sixth-form or further education work. Should the schools be accessing the same database and is it indeed possible? How would the information be either graded or summarised in order to make the lower-order uses palatable? All these problems are addressed and discussed in Chapters 11 and 12. It is probably true to say that many of the applications of microcomputers used in schools stem from use in the business and commercial world.
The Future of the Microcomputer in Schools by Nick Evans (auth.)