According to Downing (1991), computer technology has introduced several social changes in the world in general and American society in particular--changes which cannot and should not be overlooked by educators whose job it is to prepare young people to function successfully within this new society. The purpose of this paper is to examine social changes that have occurred and social changes that can be expected to occur by the year 2000.
The benefits and the problems associated with these changes and their meaning for education will also be explored. Further, the paper offers some solutions for these problems and explores how computer-technology related changes might specifically affect the writer's own area of work (preschool to elementary school). Recommendations are formulated for dealing with the problems associated with this area of work.
Computer Technology and General Social Change
Mandell and Mandell (1989) have specified a number of ways in which computer technology has revolutionized Americans' lives both at home and at the office. These changes can be summarized as follows:
(1) With the advent of the personal home computer, people are able to bring new forms of entertainment into the home (e.g. computer games) and, more importantly, a number of personal business functions (e.g. banking and bill paying, obtain stock market information, make travel arrangements, and even enroll in college courses) can be handled at home rather than outside the home.
(2) At work, computers allow people to far more rapidly and efficiently handle the complex jobs of financial analysis, bookkeeping and manufacturing. Through increasing efficiency as well as performing numerous other business functions, companies are able to improve the services they offer to consumers.
(3) Government, and research laboratories as well as hundreds of other agencies and organizations handle and organize volumes of information which woul...