Letters To THe Editor
Amid all the hullabaloo about micro-computers in education, we must not overlook the fact that the computer is enjoyed by and fits the style of young people across class and racial lines. The "computer style'' reflects the way young people have grown up: responding to games, television, rapid pacing, and immediate response.
On the other hand, teachers and others who were raised in an earlier time are less attracted to computers and the computer style. Our style is more rooted in learning through reading, writing, and oral presentations. There is, in essence, a deep generation gap, one that will favor the young people and that might provide a new balance in the schools. Such a shift in learning style may reflect the way students would like to learn rather than simply the way teachers would like them to learn.
For computers to have real impact, they will have to be introduced in the inner city to children of both sexes at a young age.
But there is a great danger that computers may simply add to the inequality of our society by being adopted only in suburban upper-class districts and in private schools (and homes), with boys being the favored users. Therefore, it is important for parents and parent-advocacy groups to recognize the computers' significance in transforming the school and to become an active constituency in demanding that computers be introduced on a larger scale in low-income areas, that teachers be well prepared to work with the computer in helping children to learn, and that useful software and programming be adopted.
Most of the research on what makes an effective school stresses basic skills, an orderly and safe learning environment, high faculty expectation for student achievement, and frequent monitoring of student progress. Electronic education has an unusually high potential for meeting these requirements.
Frank Riessman Professor of Education Queens College New York, N.Y.
In your article, "Their Own Pace: Students Self-Taught in Me. Christian Schools" (Education Week, Feb. 23, 1983), the phrase, "Started in 1970 by a graduate of Bob Jones University, the Southern Baptist institution in South Carolina ..." is not correct. Bob Jones University has never been a Southern Baptist institution. It has always been independent, answerable only to its administration. Its founder, Bob Jones Sr., opposed the Southern Baptist Convention and founded the college to give a more fundamental theological education to his constituency.
Vivian M. Gruber Chairman Department of Modern Language Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, Tex.
Vol. 02, Issue 26