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Fostering Equitable Consequences from Computer Learning Environments


The article discusses two interrelated aspects of computer education: the computer's potential for developing cognitive skills and ways in which the differential participation of males and females in computer experiences may lead to inequitable outcomes. The Assessing the Cognitive Consequences of Computer Environments for Learning Project (ACCCEL) has identified several aspects of computer environments which make it particularly cognitively demanding: the interactive, complex, and challenging nature of the environment; the precise feedback of information; and the possibility for multiple solutions. In addition, higher cognitive skills can be fostered by certain types of educational software and commercial computer games which lend themselves to student adaptation and creativity. However, a gap exists between this educational promise of computers and the reality of their use in the classroom. A number of factors may account for this gap, among them teachers' lack of awareness of computers' potential for fostering cognitive skills, lack of appropriate curriculum materials, and the restriction of computers to programming and logic courses. This gap in turn contributes to the potential for inequitable outcomes. Females are poorly represented in computer courses in high schools and colleges, a fact which is attributed to both content and process of computer instruction. Equitable outcomes will be enhanced if teachers tailor instruction to the needs of the learner, guiding exploration of the computer for female students. (LP)


Linn, M.C. Fostering Equitable Consequences from Computer Learning Environments. Retrieved August 25, 2019 from .

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