Over more than thirty years, governments, as well as certain prominent individuals and organisations, have actively promoted computers as learning technologies. Enormous amounts of money and time have been spent promoting specific kinds of educational computing and policies by which these might be implemented. The view that computers can enhance student learning has gained broad acceptance.
The association of computers with success in school, however, is neither a natural nor an inevitable phenomenon. The view that all school children will benefit equally from access to computers overlooks inequities associated with differing patterns of use.
How the Computer Went to School gives an account of the origins and development of the computer industry in the United States and shows how these influenced educational computing in both that country and Australia. It explores government policy visions which prioritise the economic benefits of educational computing for the nation and asks questions about the proper role of the computer in education and society more generally.
Denise Beale taught English and languages in Victorian schools for many years and has worked as a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Education, Monash University. She won the Mollie Holman Award for Doctoral Excellence in 2010.