No invention has impacted every aspect of our lives and work, like that of the computer. From the basic counting machine to the processors that assist in even the most complicated tasks, the computer has helped introduce many educational aids to make learning more fun and effective.
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The First Steps
In 1965, mainframes and microcomputers were introduced in some schools, and were used mostly for administrative purposes. The same decade also saw the introduction of a program for called CAI -- computer assisted instruction. These programs aimed to help students improve their mathematical and reading skills on an individual basis. They had different strategies that allowed students to improve with the help of instant and personalised feedback.
The Eighties and Nineties
In the 1980s, computers were smaller, less expensive, and were increasingly found in offices, schools and household. Toward the end of the decade, they were used as learning aids. Companies like Apple began to develop educational software, tutorials and educational games. In the early 1990s, teachers in schools began to worry that they would be replaced by computers.
Multimedia in Computing
In the year 1990, multimedia PCs were developed. Graphics were used to create interactive programs, and information could be carried about in floppy disks and later, compact discs. This made information portable and more accessible. With the advent of the Internet, students could access information on any subject, at any time of the day. Textbooks were often accompanied by laser and compact discs that had in-depth information.
Today, nearly every family owns a computer, and many students own laptops. Most schools and colleges use computers extensively, and students can now take notes on their laptops and even e-mail their assignments. Technology allows students to get individualised, personalised attention. Larger storage spaces help store a huge variety of educational material in the form of graphics, video and audio files. Webcasts help students listen to lectures that may be given in another corner of the world, and one can learn anytime, anywhere. Online schools and learning courses are beginning to gain popularity, and this could just be the beginning of a digital learning revolution.
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