Thursday, November 6, 2008

Here's a look at the past.... from an article in 1989
(that's 19 years ago - citation below):

"Computers are great tools to use once a child or an adult has a solid base of knowledge to build on. Our world has evolved to a mass state of computer dependence, and there is no doubt that children should grow with an understanding of bits and bytes. However, we as parents must be careful we don't allow our children an electronic ''easy way out'' before educational cornerstones are cemented.
Should parents or teachers allow our elementary-school children to use a calculator while doing their homework? Many of us were in college before we took a math course in which we were allowed to use a calculator. Why should fifth graders need electronic adding devices? The ''new math'' isn't that new or that difficult. Many parents, feeling ignorant of computers, seem compelled to purchase an electronic outfit for their home to overcome this great unknown. Many parents have children bugging them to spend hundreds of dollars on this worthy toy or tool. If you find yourself in either of these categories, purchase one intelligently. They are great tools that can work to one's advantage, if basic educational building blocks are not neglected.
To purchase a computer wisely a family should discuss and define the following:
* What will this machine be used for? Games, mailing labels, word processing of homework assignments, writing seasons greetings to friends and relatives at holiday time, Pacman, Ping-Pong, Monster Math - plus preschool alphabet play, extrapolating statistics, creating bar charts and doing tax returns - are all among its fine uses.
* Will a child want to play games while the mother needs to bring up a choice recipe from her file and the father wants to complete his banking? In other words, will one computer be enough?
* How much money do you want to spend? How much money is available to spend?
* Will a student need her own to take to college two years from now and will the college tell her that this one is obsolete and she must purchase a more costly one?
* Do you wish this machine to be compatible with others in the same house, a relative's, a friend's or with one at the school the children attend?
* Will you need a letter-quality printer, or any printer at all? Will you need a printer to print something specific - such as letter-quality correspondence and graphics.
All of these questions may seem silly but are essential in defining your electronic needs. When you enter a computer store, a sharp salesman will try to help you define your needs by asking these very questions. Many salesmen may just try to sell you a lightning fast computer with a 40 megabyte hard disk, knowing it will handle everything you will ever want it to and more. If your children's ages and uses vary, your computer needs will also. You may find your needs met well by a cheaper model if you want one for playing games; and a more extravagant machine for business use.
Computers age rapidly. The $4,000 computer package we bought four years ago is close to being called antiquated. But it was able to do what we needed it to do then, and it will continue its useful life for years. Despite the industry's advancements, our machine is still serving our purposes well.
The important thing to remember is to buy your computer for what you need it to accomplish in the near future. Don't buy a soup-to-nuts package that will see your son off to college, when you are really wanting it now to send out his birth announcement. Technology will continually change, thereby indirectly reshaping your needs along the way. "
Jaeger, Paige Sheard. "WESTCHESTER OPINION; Determining Family Computer Needs.
(Westchester Weekly Desk)." The New York Times (April 16, 1989): NA. New York State
Newspapers. Gale. DMV Access. 6 Nov. 2008

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