The History Of Computers In Education

1808 words - 8 pages

The history of computers in education starts with the MARK1 and ENIAC computers being used in 1944 and 1946 in Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania respectively. The first use of computers then in education was to compute problems in the mathematical, scientific, and engineering fields to allow students to deal with big problems they would more than likely encounter one day in a real world situation. In 1959, Donald Bitier began the “large-scale” PLATO project, which was a “several thousand-terminal system [that] served undergraduate education, as well as elementary school reading, a community college in Urbana, and several campuses in Chicago.” (Molnar)

In 1963 at Dartmouth, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz changed the computers to have an overall academic role rather than just a research related role. Kemeny and Kurtz used the then recently introduced concept of time-sharing, which was a type of multi-tasking and processing that allowed more to be done with many students at once than just one at a time. In the same year at Stanford, Patrick Suppes and Richard Atkinson created a program in mathematics and reading with computer-assisted instructions, which gave “rapid feedback” to students and gave students the capability of a more “individualized” learning experience. (Molnar)
At the start of the seventies, Seymour Papert developed a new computer programming language, named LOGO, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help elementary school kids learn mathematics better by helping them perform simple tasks. Papert’s intent was “to teach children to be mathematicians” and let them have a more efficient learning experience applying computer problems to real-life situations, which is termed as computer fluency. (Molnar) Fellow computer technology student Edward Vidal says, “There are many educational games and programs that kids can use to learn, such as Mario Teaches Typing and FCAT explorer,” whereas the former teaches kids how to type on the computer without looking at the keys and the latter assists in teaching a variety of subjects rather than just math to elementary to high school students.

Also during the 1970s, researchers began to look for ways to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into schools to improve student education, which could “dramatically improve learning and problem solving.” Artificial Intelligence is usually defined as technology, such as computers, being able to solve problems as if it had a human brain. Artificial intelligence in technology would have “knowledge, perception, reasoning, learning, understanding and similar cognitive abilities” just like a person would. (Saloky) The ideal usage of artificial intelligence would be to assist students in solving easy to complex problems, create virtual models, and tutor students in one or more particular subjects. Three such AIs eventually created for educational use include: Intelligent Computer Assisted Instruction (ICAI), which was developed for the three...

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