The computer has at least eight features that can be advantageous to the reading teacher and the learner: the computer (1) is interactive--the print can change sizes and colors, blink on and off, and roll up or down the screen; (2) is immediate--it can respond or interact far faster than can either the teacher or learner; (3) is impassive--it is a nonthreatening, nonjudging machine; (4) focuses attention--the changing light patterns on the surface of the cathode ray tube (CRT) are a constant reminder to the viewer that the display can and does change; (5) is absolutely dependent upon its programs (or programer); (6) can vary parameters; (7) permits skills to be embedded in games; and (8) can keep records. Unfortunately, not all of the computer's characteristics are advantageous. For example, the low cost of electronically stored and displayed text is low cost only after relatively expensive computing equipment has been purchased. A second problem is quality. However, the computer's major disadvantages are inherent in the characteristics of its displays: it is dependent upon electricity, and its printouts are often difficult to read. Furthermore, the CRT is a limited display device. Finally, the CRT can cause vision problems. (HOD)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference (32nd, Clearwater Beach, FL, December 1-4, 1982).