December 1996

Root Page of Article: Computers for Technophobes, by Christopher Harper

Literature Survey

The most recent analysis of pedagogy and computer-mediated communication can be found in a collection of articles in Communication and Cyberspace (1996) in which Stephanie Gibson puts forward an important call for the use of hypertext in the classroom. She argues that the use of CMC provides democracy to the classroom for the student to follow his or her own selected paths to knowledge. "Traditional classroom relationships are altered because the teacher no longer has control over who will read what texts, when, or in how much depth."

While her argument rings true, the professor still sets the agenda of what can be provided as easily accessible materials by the professor's reading list or computer page. It is far more likely that the student will follow the reading schedule established by the teacher -- be it in the library or online.

Still, other studies support Gibson's analysis. In both work and leisure, McClintock argues that people will increasingly find the need to learn new forms of information and communication. Students must learn to organize and use information, to create new knowledge, both personal and public. Hence, an education for the 21st century must provide people with mastery of the intellectual and technical skills necessary to participate to their full potential. (McClintock, 1994)

In a separate article, McClintock notes that educational computers can provide asynchronous support for both forms of synchronized classroom interaction, recitation and discussion. Drill and practice systems allow students to benefit from systematic recitation without having to be synchronized in space and time with their teachers or their peers. These programs allow each student to work at his or her own pace and, in a properly networked environment, at a time and place of his or her choosing. (McClintock, 1992)

Most analysis of computers and teaching does not address the use of computers for teaching journalism in college. The Poynter Institute provides excellent background materials for teaching specific elements of computerized journalism, but there is no systematic research on the pedogogy of teaching computer-assisted reporting. A variety of studies deals with computer science programming in the classroom, and the uses of computers in specific areas of studies. Reading, phonics and science are the most-often studied components of computers and education in the classroom. (ERIC)

Lee and Fleming address the problems of instituting a computer program forjournalism in which cost of equipment, lack of qualified faculty, and maintenance of equipment are the top reasons that few journalism curricula have included computer-assisted reporting. (Lee, Fleming, 1995)

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