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Computer glossary

Computer glossary

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Innotech Journal
INNOTECH JOURNAL (Vol. XI No. 2 / July-December 1987)Trends in Computer Education
FOREWORDTHIS ISSUE of the INNOTECH Journal incorporates some innovations, like new type style,layout and general makeup. It contains six articles on the theme Computer Education. Eachexplains the many uses of computer in educational planning, administration and strategy.The Use of Microcomputers in Educational Administration" introduces educational administra-tors to uses of microcomputers in the planning and management of educational systems andinstitutions, including problems and limitations of their use. The article discusses some commonmisconceptions about microcomputers and explains the configuration and uses of theseequipment"Achieving Curriculum-Integrated Computing" discusses the degree of integration of computer-ization into the academic curriculum- in both quantitative and qualitative dimensions. It pre-sents the uses of instructional documentation (as an aid to full implementation of a program)and the diffusion model (or how innovations spread throughout a potential user population) asa means of incorporating computing into coursework."Computer Technology and its Application to Teacher Training Programs" traces the develop-ment, issues and applications of computer technology as it relates to teacher education. Itsuggests a computer curriculum that involves such topics as 'hands-on' work with computers(to cover basic operations and familiarity with a variety of software) to instruction on variouslevels of computer application in instruction. It also covers the flexibility of computers forteaching graphics, business, music, vocational, English and social science subjects.The Information Age: An Opportunity to Restructure Curriculum and Instruction. It also coversthe flexibility of computers flexibility of computers for teaching graphics, business, music,vocational, English and social science subjects, highlights the use of educational software andhardware.Training Teacher Trainers How to Make Use of the Computer" discusses the infusion of thecomputer into education, especially addressed to primary and secondary teachers and admin-istrators. This includes the organization and implementation of a workshop for teacher trainers."Computer Applications to Higher Education Institutions" traces the analogy between thesuccessive stages of human satisfaction in psychology and trends in meaning and expectationsassociated with "Computer Literacy." It dwells on the impact of computer-from a properperspective of the needs and plans of action through Systems Approach to utilize resources tobest possible effect.-OSP
Innotech Journal
By PAUL HURSTIntroductionegTHIS MANUAL is intended to introduce educational administrators in developing countries tothe possible uses of microcomputers in the planning and management of educational systemsand institutions, and to the problems and limitations of their use. By "administrator" I meanprincipals of schools, district, local or regional education officers, and planners of nationalsystems. Obviously the tasks of these various types of administrator vary considerably, andthe potential uses of microcomputers will vary accordingly. The manual is organized intosections dealing with different applications rather than different types of administrators andtheir needs.Section 1 deals with a number of misconceptions about microcomputers and their use in educa-tion in developing countries. Section 2 explains the principal features of microcomputers andperipheral devices. The emphasis throughout is on the use of available programs, and noprogramming skill is assumed or necessary.1. Some Common MisconceptionsMisconception No. 1: Microtechnology is inappropriateSome people believe that microcomputers are a form of technology that is inappropriate todeveloping countries because it is too sophisticated. Of course, there have been instances inthe past of technology from industrialized countries being imported into low-income countriesand having a devastating effect because of its unsuitability for such an environment.Microcomputers are not in themselves unsuitable for use in a developing country, even a verypoor one. First and foremost they are quite easy to use, provided that the operator has theappropriate software available and a good quality manual which explains how to use it. Mostapplications software can be understood from the manual, and the user can usually learn howto use it with practice and without attending a course. Almost all of the software these days ismenu-driven, which means that a menu of choices or options is always displayed on the TVscreen (display or monitor). The user does not have to memorize the commands which instructthe computer, although as one becomes familiar with the command syntax it is usually possibleto set the menu level down or cause it to disappear altogether, thus converting the program toa command-driven mode.Moreover, programs invariably contain a help menu - that is to say, a means of summoning uppages of advisory text from within the program which explains how to use it. Further, the moreadvanced kinds of program are generally accompanied by tutorial disks, which containsequenced exercises to train the novice user in getting the best out of the program,It is not necessary to learn programming languages and skills to operate a microcomputer,
Innotech Journal
provided you have bought a good program (which a programmer has written for you). Thecommand syntax which is used to instruct the computer via the program is usually written ineveryday language with obvious meanings like COPY, QUIT, DO, ERASE and the like. Youdo need access to a service engineer since computers, although fairly reliable, are not alwaystrouble-free. And you do need a reliable power supply. Otherwise anyone anywhere in theworld can use a microcomputer, provided the machine is kept within its operating temperaturerange (e.g. not in strong direct sunlight in Mauritania or outdoors in the Arctic Circle), withinits humidity range, and away from dust.Misconception No. 2: Microcomputers Cause UnemploymentStrictly speaking there is nothing a microcomputer can do that a human being cannot do, but themain reason for using them is because they are capable of performing routine operations agreat deal more quickly than humans.  And they don't get bored. There are many tasks thatcomputers cannot do, particularly those which involve human relations and creativity. Essen-tially therefore we should use micros only when it is cost effective to do so, and when we arethereby releasing the talents of humans to b devoted to more interesting and more challengingwork than routine tasks, (assuming the machine can do them and do them more cheaply).The introduction of micros into educational administration on a considerable scale might con-ceivably lead to some loss of jobs among low-grade clerical workers who are being employedsimply to carry on routine record-keeping chores. In practice, however, it seems to be nearlyalways the case that micros are used to develop and extend the range of tasks that can beundertaken by a group of people, since some of them will be to some extent liberated fromroutine file-keeping or statistical calculations. It needs to be remembered that in some casesthe use of micros can actually entail more work because the machines must have data enteredinto them and be operated by someone thereafter. Micros are interactive, and require anoperator to instruct them. This is unlike large mainframe computers which are usually run in anon-interactive batch mode- that is to say, the mainframe computer is given its instructions in abatch which it then completes unattended.In view of the foregoing, the use of micros is unlikely to lead to savings. First there is the ex-pense of acquiring and maintaining them, and second there is unlikely to be much reduction inpersonnel. If clerks are redeployed to more interesting work, this is making the system moreefficient (cost-effective) by extending its range at a tolerable cost rather than by makingsavings. Reduction of existing costs through the use of micros is not the usual experience.Misconception No. 3: Microcomputers are too expensive for the Third WorldIn recent years, the cost of computing has declined dramatically. The introduction of miniaturizedintegrated circuits (called chips) not only makes it possible to put a great deal of computingpower and memory into a machine the size of a small suitcase or a sewing machine, wherepreviously a suite of rooms full of equipment was needed, but also means that the process of industrialization of the manufacture and the economies of scale that are achieved throughlarge-volume sales of these machines has brought prices down drastically.

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