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The Rise of Computer Technology

Schools across the nation are embracing computer information technology, but at an uneven pace. For instance, about 50 percent of all public schools have already installed local area networks and there exist, on average, 14 multimedia-capable computers per K-12 school (Evans et al., 1996, p. 4). The computing resources of most schools, however, consist of stand-alone computers as opposed to those with online capability.

Although the instructional benefits of stand-alone computers are well-documented, the power and potential of online computing has only recently caught the attention of educators. Some school administrators express concern over committing funds for computer technology that may in time become obsolete. Granted, information technology is changing rapidly, but this should not discourage administrators from making consistent and substantial investments in computing resources. As one administrator advises, " . . . if schools tailor their purchases to students' learning needs, then new high-tech purchases (like new textbooks) should only happen when those learning needs require them" (Cushman, 1994, p. 158).

The benefits to students of connecting schools to the information superhighway far outweigh the costs. The information superhighway includes the Internet and other public and private networks through which students can access news reports, government documents, electronic bu


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