Computer Science and Education

By Erin Smithhisler, Casey Keller, Patrick Huftless, Aaron Schif


    When we think of a classroom today, it is hard to imagine it without some form of technology in it. Schools were slow to adopt to the wave of new technology being developed, with a lack of funding and a lack of training to support it. Ironically, many major technological advancements were created in schools in the first place. Over the years, computers and technology have taken a more prominent role in education.


    While computers were sparingly used in education around their conception, the first real use of computers began in the 1960's when college campuses began creating mainframes to run applications at their university. These mainframes, however, were primarily used by college administrators and school counseling services to keep track of student grades and scheduling. Around 1967, some universities began to offer classes that taught students how to code in high-level programming languages such as Fort ran. Vocational schools also began to emerge that specialized in computer science. In 1975, students began to have their first real experience using a computer when Apple donated several Apple I to several high schools and universities. At one point in 1977, it was estimated that over 90% of the students at Dartmouth had used a computer at the university within that year. Computer presence in schools increased, and by the 1990's,the vast majority of public school districts had integrated PCs into their classrooms in one form or another. At this point, many computers are used for college and career guidance. CD-ROM's also were becoming popular, and multimedia and office products such as Microsoft Office began to become mainstream in school computers. Teaching students how to use this type of software became part of the school’s curriculum.

The Internet Era

    In 1995, the internet had begun to catch on with businesses, including school systems. School districts began creating their own websites, and schools are rewired to allow for internet access. Some districts begin setting up networks and servers, and allow for faculty to create a web page to enhance the instruction of their students. As the Web 2.0 era came about, teachers started relying more heavily on the internet as an extra resource for students. Websites began popping up that allowed for videos to be broadcast to large audiences,and online encyclopedias, or wikis, began to form.

Modern Use

    The ways technology is used in the class room is very diverse, but it can be broken into basic types: distance education, simulations,and personalization. These techniques are used in all levels of the education processes with the hope of making learning easier, faster,and more sophisticated.

Distance Education

    Using technology to spread ideas is not a new concept. Books, radios, and microphones have been expanding the reach of ideas for a long time. The most recent contribution to the long reach of ideas is the internet. The internet allows for the creation of online or MOOC(Massive Open Online Courseware) schools, such as, which can give thousands of people high quality educations. The internet also helps catalog millions of pages of information on almost any conceivable subject, such as YouTube videos of MIT lectures.Many universities, including Kansas State, have also begun offering many of their classes online through distance education. Webpages are set up so that students can attend virtual lectures, directly interact with their teacher, submit assignments, take tests, and view theirgrades. These courses are becoming more reputable as the technology behind them increases, and have become a popular alternative to enrolling in face-to-face classes.


    It is possible that the most powerful education technology shows things the humans alone can't. Things that can't be comprehended,imagined, or easily understood can be shown on a screen. The very fast, slow, large, or small can be difficult to understand but are easily shown. Complex physics simulations can be created in programs such as STEP so students can modify and explore different parts of an experiment. Programs like GeoGebra can quickly show the underlying mechanics of calculus and basic algebra. These programs are also becoming more available to the public through the internet as websites have begun offering complex computational services for free through their website.

 Smart Learning

    Even though technology can help us spread our reach, it can also help us narrow our focus. When everyone has a computer, everyone also has access to a personal tutor. While many people would love to help tutor children one on one, there are only so many tutors compared to the need for tutors. Applications such as Anki and Klavaro can fill in the tutoring deficit by producing personalized lesson plans for students working on their computers for flashcards and typing.

Potential Issues

    While some teachers make full use of their new equipment, many never receive any sort of training. Unfortunately, entire computer labs go to waste because instead of teaching children how to use computers, the labs are solely used for taking computerized tests.Technology is changing the way the world works. It can make people more efficient and capable of greater things. Whole new worlds of information are now open to us. It has changed the way we think and how we interact with the world. Technology gives us greater potential to learn and comprehend, however the very basic fundamentals behind the challenges of learning are the same as they have ever been. Even as we find more advanced and better ways of learning and teaching we must approach it in the same way.

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