Passage Thirty-three (Importance of a Computer)
As citizens of advanced but vulnerable economies, we must either relentlessly increase the quality of our skills or see our standard of living erode. For the future, competition between nations will be increasingly based on technological skill. Oil and natural resources will still be important, but they no longer will determine a nation’s economic strength. This will now be a matter of the way people organize them selves and the nature and quality of their work. Japan and the “new Japans “of East Asia are demonstrating this point in ways that are becoming painfully obvious to the older industrial countries.
There is simply no way to rest on our past achievements. Today’s competition renders obsolete huge chunks of what we know and what forces us to innovate. For each individual. Several careers will be customary, and continuing education and retraining will be inescapable. To attain this extraordinary level of education, government, business, schools, and even individuals will turn to technology for the answer.
In industry, processing the information and designing the changes necessary to keep up with the market has meant the growing use of computers. The schools are now following close behind. Already some colleges in the United States are requiting a computer for each student. It is estimated that 500,000 computers are already in use in American high schools and elementary schools. Although there is an abysmal lack of educational software, the number of computers in schools expands rapidly.
The computer is the Proteus of machines, as it takes on a thousand forms and serves a thousand functions. But its truly revolutionary character can be seen in its interactive potential. With advanced computers, learning can be individualized and self-paced. Teachers can become more productive and the entire learning environment enriched.
It is striking how much current teaching is a product of pencil and paper technology. With the computer’s capacity for simulation and diverse kinds of feedback, all sorts of new possibilities open up for the redesign of curriculums. Seymour Papert, the inventor of the computer language LOGO, believes that concepts in physics and advanced mathematics can be taught in the early grades with the use of computers. On every-day level, word-processing significantly improves the capacity for written expression. In terms of drill and practice, self-paced computer-assisted instruction enables the student to advance rapidly—without being limited by the conflicting needs of the entire class. In short, once we learn to use this new brain outside the brain, education will never be the same.
Industry, faced with the pressures of a rapidly shifting market, is already designing new methods to retrain its workers, In the United States, a technological university has been set up to teach engineering courses by satellite. And the advances in telecommunications and computational power will dramatically expand the opportunities for national and international efforts in education and training.
Without romanticizing the machine, it is clear that computers uniquely change the potential for equipping today’s citizens for unprecedented tasks of the future. Particularly in Europe and the United States, innovation will be the basis for continued prosperity. New competitors are emerging to challenge the old economic arrangements. How successfully we respond will depend on how much we invest in people and how wisely we employ the learning tools of the new technology.
1. What is the decisive factor in future competition between nations?
[A]. Oil. [B]. Technological skill.
[C]. Natural resources [D] Education
2. The main idea of this passage is
[A]. Knowledge of a Computer. [B]. Importance of a Computer.
[C]. Function of Knowledge. [C]. Function of Technology.
3. Why does further study become indispensable?
[A]. People want to so more jobs.
[B]. People want to attain this extraordinary level of education.
[C]. People would not rest on the past achievements.
[D]. What we know becomes obsolete.
4. The word “Proteus” is closest in meaning to
[A]. flexibility. [B]. diversity. [C]. variety. [D]. multiplicity.
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