Date of Award

Spring 1996

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Kathy Wagner

Second Advisor

Christine Murray

Third Advisor

Patricia E. Baker


The presence of new technology in American education is largely unquestioned. Technology is a product of a particular economic and political context and carries with it an agenda that requires scrutiny, criticism, and control. This paper scrutinizes the impact of computers in the secondary classroom, especially on the national and local levels, with particular regard to writing and social skill development. The history of personal computers is explored with an emphasis on the ways in which PC use was tied into American classrooms. The author notes business interests in computer usage, the disparity in use for poor and minority students, and budgetary issues. Evaluation of computer-based teaching is also examined, with a focus on program success, standardized test results, and published studies. The author argues that research on computer use in the classroom reveals inconclusive and oftentimes contradictory test results, reflecting the bias and lack of direction within the educational community itself. Until computers are shown to be valuable to the learner, teachers should weigh the use of computer programs in their class. Computer use cannot be used as an instructional panacea.