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Microcomputer Utilization

G. Edwin Lint, M.A.
Educational Consultant

1706 Patricia Court
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 USA

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Computers and Curriculum in the Next Century

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As your microcomputer consultant, I can help your agency --

Know this: Everyone will be involved with microcomputers in the next century. You will use computers or you will be used by them.

The modern philosophy of computer utilization: Type it once into a computer file and you never have to type it again unless it changes.

A computer utilization parable ...
The year is 1896 and your state legislature is considering a revision of the public school curriculum. However, the citizens are incensed by the absence of penmanship from the proposed curriculum. There is no mention of manuscript or cursive writing, and not a word can be found about a writing tablet, pen, slate, or stylus. Not even a piece of chalk! Parents are threatening to organize a trek to the state capitol to make a formal protest to the governor.

Preposterous? Maybe. But not a lot more preposterous than the fact that computer utilization is given minimal mention in some state curriculum regulations. In reality, computer utilization skills are as essential for living and working in the next century as penmanship was a hundred years ago.

What Can Be Done? Make sure your curriculum places proper emphasis on computer utilization skills.

Motorists and Mechanics.
Computer utilization is different from computer programming in the same way driving a car is different from being an auto mechanic. The plethora of off-the-shelf computer applications available for Windows and Macintosh computers covers everything from preschool activities to high-end spreadsheets and relational databases. Only a comparative few of us need to learn computer programming. The rest of us just need to learn to drive the software the programmers have already written.

A Personal Note
Let me share my family's experience with computer utilization skills in America's public school education system. My guess is that many of you have had similar experiences. My wife, Nancy, and I have four children: Judith, born in 1958; David, born in 1961; James, born in 1967; Jessica, born in 1971. All four graduated from public high schools, two in the 70s and two in the 80s. None graduated with any functional computer utilization skills.

Judy bought a personal computer in January 1994. She and her husband are learning to use their word processor with some help from the software's user guide, and me. Dave has become skilled with a personal computer while on the job. Jim learned to use paint, draw, and desktop publishing software while working on a part-time job, earning money for college. Jessi has a job with a Nashville banking association which requires fluency in word processor, database, and spreadsheet software. She's learning on the job, too.

Nancy and I graduated in the 50s when modern computer utilization skills weren't even a dream. Nevertheless, we have become proficient with microcomputers through independent study and on-the-job training. However, we are rather disappointed that our children failed to receive functional computer utilization skills in school and were forced to learn those skills at their own and their employers' expense.

We would like to think that the school districts that will be responsible for the education of our grandchildren in the next century will avoid such mistakes. There is little substance for this hope unless local school districts assure that computer utilization skills are given appropriate emphasis.

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This product is an excellent tool for creating IEPs and curricula. It consists of the following components:

  • 16 Subject Areas
  • 105 Goal Areas under the Subject Areas
  • 4,830 Objectives under the Goal Areas
  • 2,719 Suggested Activities for achieving the objectives.

Click to Download a PennSTAR Master Curriculum Free Sample to Your Desktop as a PDF File

[The Subject Area of the Sample is Reading. The sample consists of 219 Objectives and 322 Suggested Activities.]