InterJournal Complex Systems, 87
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [87]
Submission Date: 972103
Computers as Tutors: Solving the Crisis in Education
Author(s): Fred Bennett

Subject(s): CX.65

Category: None


Crime befuddles, exasperates and angers the American public, but solutions are evasive. Seldom do officials consider that criminal activity is often related to illiteracy, and will never be reduced appreciably while hundreds of thousands of illiterate students are leaving schools each year. Computers, if used differently in schools could teach every child in the country to read and write in a short time. These machines could also dramatically improve learning of all students from the very brightest to the slowest. Unfortunately, computers thus far have been little more than a new gimmick in education, and despite a few examples of good use of the machines by a tiny number of teachers, overall classroom gains have been negligible. There are cogent reasons why computers, if they continue to be used as they are today, can never change education. The solution to present educational woes requires that computers be allowed to instruct children without a teacher interposed between the machine and the child. There are examples of the use of the machines in this way and the results have been excellent Using computers as true instructors would change the accustomed role of teachers in education, but would not lesson their numbers nor their importance. Their human qualities are too important. Improved use of technology would relieve them of many of the time consuming chores that now burden their lives and would allow them to achieve much greater success in reaching their basic goal of educating children. Machines would teach but humans would educate. Many other benefits would flow from computerized education including fulfillment in all students of the basic and universal need to succeed, effective use of educational research, dramatic reduction of prejudice against race and sex, and elimination of substitute teaching. Moreover, computerized education would allow and foster smaller, neighborhood schools and make busing anachronistic. Full use of computers in education would also provide ancillary advantages: grades could be eliminated, better thinking by students would be fostered and enhanced, new and successful approaches in education could be easily replicated, and many of the difficulties connected with Inclusion would be resolved. Finally, computerized education, once accepted, would make it possible to eliminate illiteracy, not only in the United States, but in every place in the world.

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