Humanizing Technology: Computers in Community Use and Adult by Elisabeth Gerver (auth.)

By Elisabeth Gerver (auth.)

A few years in the past, a e-book of this sort and elegance couldn't or shouldn't have been written. it is because, till many years in the past, no actual in-depth knowl­ fringe of desktops and automated gear used to be on the disposal of these with a nonscience, nonquantitative history. a few humans from different disciplines-including company, the humanities, and the social sciences-had been operating with such gear, yet they'd "gone over" and tended to be much more computer-conscious than these whom they served. it is just relatively lately that individuals like Elisabeth Gerver with a company arts and grownup schooling history to start with turned an expert after which remained actual to that heritage. To her everlasting credits, Elisabeth Gerver, while she turned concerned, refrained from being sucked into the realm of the jargon or maybe that of the taking into account the pc scientists and the digital engineers. to the contrary, she insisted that she used to be an informed girl facing different informed humans, and they may all communicate within the language of daily discourse. It labored! One end result of her adventure and her concept is that this remarkably lucid and readable e-book. it's going to turn out to be of huge worth to many on the planet of grownup and group schooling. however the beneficiaries will run past these sectors of society. folks with a nonscience, nonquantitative history would definitely locate it of huge worth of their early, necessarily hesitant and defective, grappling with the area of latest technology.

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Secondly, one needs to change from paying attention to words as they appear on a page to words as they appear on a screen, usually on a special monitor attached to the computer. There are several potential problems associated with the change from paper to screen, including the fact that it is still generally more difficult to proofread accurately on a screen than on paper, as many computer misprints bear witness. Eyestrain also seems to be more readily caused by staring at a monitor than by looking at pieces of paper, and some concern has been expressed about the possible health hazards of longterm exposure to the minute amount of radiation emanating from computer monitors (Pearce, 1982).

Here again, as in the question of mathematical performance, social factors rather than innate abilities appear to be the main cause of the apparent lesser performance by girls. There is now a mass of anecdotal evidence to suggest that girls will be discouraged from computing by the attitudes of their male peers. In one American high school, for instance, adolescent boys harassed the girls in order to discourage them from registering for the after-school computer courses. The boys admitted that they were doing this deliberately to limit enrollment, so that they could have more computer time for themselves (Rossen, 1982).

In the setting of the public library, whose users tend to be female, it has been shown by Yeates (1982) that far more men than women will use computer-based systems to provide information. At central lending libraries in Britain, the ratio of users of Prestel (a computer-based information system) was seven men to every three women, while at reference libraries the gender imbalance was even more pronounced, with nearly four men to every one woman. Such an apparently ubiquitous gender imbalance in the use of computers cries out for systematic research which would allow informed speculation about the reasons as a firm basis for trying to redress the imbalance.

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