British educational institutions, unlike those in America, have shied away from introducing computer projects in which the children themselves interact directly with the machine.
Instead, they have favoured it as a management, laboratory or calculating tool.
Now a Scottish project is going against this trend. This spring a major computer-aided instruction pilot project - based on a similar scheme in Chicago -will begin operating in 10 primary schools . . . based on the drill and practice method and designed to supplement and reinforce conventional classroom instruction. Subjects covered are reading, arithmetic and "language arts" -mainly syntax and grammar.
When the system comes into operation, each child will sit at a video display unit (VDU) which is linked to a central computer. VDUs are special TV-type screens with a keyboard on which the child responds to questions appearing on the screen. The questions can either be the direct type or multiple choice . . .
In reply to the understandable fear that the computer may oust teachers . .
. the organisers argue that in fact it will set teachers free to concentrate their attention where it is really needed . . .
The Glasgow pilot project is costing just under pound;1m.