The fundamental questions then are: (1) What presentation format is most effective for the learning of specific linguistic skills? (2) What teaching/learning methodology does the software offer for specific knowledge and/or skill acquisition? The nature of the presentation device becomes secondary to the nature of the courseware--as long as appropriate interaction is possible. A modern computer is simply more sophisticated than a Programmed Instruction book or machine.
The United States is somewhat behind Western Europe in terms of school use of computers. In England, for example, the Department of Education has reported that the country ranks first in the world in integrating computers in education. The report cites that 94% of secondary schools and all primary schools provide hands-on experience in computers. Secondary schools own on average 85 computers each, whereas primary schools have averaged 10 computers each. Thus, at least 10 pupils in secondary schools share one computer, compared to 60 ten years ago (Frost, 1995). Although computers are used primarily for computational skill development, increasingly they teach language and other disciplines, particularly where drill, recognition, and memorization are the primary skills to be acquired.
Nevertheless, the rush to computerize has led to growing criticism that the money spent on co