Introductory computer education: developments in a time perspective

T. Plomp

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An analysis of computer literacy curricula around the middle of the 1980s shows a remarkable overall shift away from teaching computing to teaching applications, information handling, and problem-solving. Computer use is no longer viewed as a goal in itself, but is introduced as a powerful means of fulfilling information needs and of facilitating learning and other instructional tasks. Some recent developments raise the question as to whether separate courses in computer literacy are still needed, or whether computer literacy goals could be better attained in other ways. Two interesting new lines of thinking can be observed. The first implies the integration of computer literacy goals with traditional educational goals by promoting the abandonment of separate computer literacy courses for the instrumental use of computers in existing courses. The second development, now being discussed in the Netherlands, can be characterized as a mixed approach, in which the more general computer literacy goals are realized via traditional subject matter courses, while more specific information handling goals are addressed in short separate courses. Both approaches are discussed, and links are established to The Computer in Education study of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) in order to provide a context for interpreting some of the study's results. (22 references) (Author/GL)
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 1989

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