30 years ago
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.