In 1991 (pre-web) I wrote an essay which outlined 4 images or metaphors of the computer. It was published then in the union journal and on some old networks that probably don't exist anymore:
Image 1: The computer as a dangerous tool that threatens the emotional well being of our students
Image 2: The computer as a substitute teacher that threatens and dehumanises teaching as a profession
Image 3: The computer as a productive tool that helps prepare students for the world of work where productivity is a big issue
Image 4: The computer as an expressional, creative and reconstructible tool ... an intelligent assistant that enhances our self awareness
Although these need some updating, much of the detail has changed, they still hold up fairly well IMO. My initial argument was that people internalise these contradictory metaphors to varying degrees and that it was a worthwhile exercise to bring them to the surface to examine their social meaning.
Image 1: In 1991 the main worry of the worry warts was computer games. Now we also have porn, pedophiles and on line bullying to worry about
Image 2: This one has changed the most in that we now have a web2.0 movement that offers far more socially than only individualised computer aided instruction. This image has more positive spin now, a bit too much IMO. However, I would accept that image 2 definitely needs rewording
Image 3 is still what schools mainly strive for and image 4 is what they should be doing but still find too hard
Overall, this makes me think that we are running fast but not making a great of progress. I would still see it as useful to argue about our uses of computers in these terms.
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