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Please write a prcis of each of the following paragraphs, and then write an
overall prcis of the whole passage.
Computers and Education in America
In the last decade, computers have invaded every aspect of education, from kindergarten
through college. The figures show that schools have spent over two billion dollars
installing two million new computers. Recently, with the explosive increase of sites on
the Internet, computers have taken another dramatic rise. In just five years, the number of
Internet hosts has skyrocketed from 2 million to nearly 2 million. It is not uncommon
for !th graders to surf the "et, design their own home pages, and e#mail their friends or
strangers they have $met$ on the %eb. &omputer literacy is a reality for many junior high
students and most high school students.
In the midst of this technological explosion, we might well stop and ask some key
'uestions. Is computer technology good or bad for education( )re students learning more
or less( %hat, exactly, are they learning( )nd who stands to benefit from education*s
current infatuation with computers and the Internet(
In the debate over the virtues of computers in education, the technological optimists think
that computers and the Internet are ushering us into the next literacy revolution, a change
as profound as +utenberg*s invention of the printing press. In contrast, a much smaller
but growing number of critics believe that cyberspace is not the ideal classroom. I agree
with the critics. If you consider your own experience, you*ll agree that the benefits of
computer literacy are at best wildly overrated. )t their worst, computers and the Internet
pander to the short attention spans and the passive viewing habits of a young television
The technological optimists sing a siren song of an enchanted new land where the
educational benefits of computers and the Internet are boundless. ,irst, they boast that
children can now access information on every conceivable subject. If little -va or little
.ohnny wants to learn about far#away cultures, they can access sites from their own
homes that will teach them about the great languages and cultures of the world. /econd,
these starry#eyed optimists warble about how the Internet has created a truly democratic
space, where all children##rich, poor, black, white, and brown##have e'ual access to
information and education. Third, they claim that computers will allow students to have
e#mail conversations with experts on any subject around the world. "o longer will
students be limited by their own classroom, their teacher, or their environment. 0istance
learning is the wave of the future, and classrooms will become obsolete or at least
optional. In the words of .ohn /culley, former &-1 of )pple &omputer, the new
technologies have created an $avalanche of personal creativity and achievement$ and they
have given students the $ability to explore, convey, and create knowledge as never
before.$ &hildren who used to hate going to school will now love to learn to read and
write, to do math and science. They will voluntarily spend hours learning on the %eb
instead of being bored to death by endless books and stodgy teachers.
/ound too good to be true( 2et*s examine these claims, one by one. ,irst, promoters of
computer learning are endlessly excited about the 'uantity of information available on the
Internet. The reality, however, is 'uite a different story. If you*ve worked on the Internet,
you know that finding and retrieving information from a %eb site can sometimes be
tedious and time consuming. )nd once you find a site, you have no idea whether the
information will be valuable. 3opular search engines such as 4ahoo5 are inefficient at
finding relevant information, unless you just want to buy a book on ) or find
a street map for ,argo, "orth 0akota. Information is definitely available on the %eb, but
the problem is finding relevant, reliable, and non#commercial information.
"ext, the optimists claim that the Internet is truly a democratic space with e'ual access
for everyone. )gain, the reality falls short. ,irst, access to an Internet provider at home
costs over a hundred dollars a month, once you add up service and long distance fees.
)nd then there*s the technology barrier##not every person has the skills to navigate the
%eb in any but the most superficial way. -'ual access is still only a theoretical dream,
not a current reality.
,inally, computers do allow students to expand their learning beyond the classroom, but
the distance learning is not a utopia. /ome businesses, such as 7ewlett 3ackard, do have
mentoring programs with children in the schools, but those mentoring programs are not
available to all students. 0istance learning has always been a dream of administrators,
eager to figure out a cheaper way to deliver education. They think that little -va and
.ohnny are going to learn about .apanese culture or science or algebra in the evening
when they could be talking with their friends on the phone or watching television. )s
education critic "eil 3ostman points out, these administrators are not imagining a new
technology but a new kind of child8 $In 9the administrator*s: vision, there is a confident
and typical sense of unreality. 2ittle -va can*t sleep, so she decides to learn a little
algebra( %here does little -va come from( ;ars($ 1nly students from some distant
planet would prefer to stick their nose in a computer rather than watch T< or go to school
and be with their friends.
In addition to these drawbacks are other problems with computers in education. There is
the nasty issue of pornography and the rampant commercialism on the Internet. /chools
do not want to have their students spend time buying products or being exposed to
pornography or pedophiles. /econd, the very attractiveness of most %eb sites, with their
color graphics and ingenious links to other topics, promotes dabbling and skimming. The
word $surfing$ is appropriate, because most sites encourage only the most surface
exploration of a topic. The Internet thus accentuates what are already bad habits for most
students8 Their short attention spans, their unwillingness to explore subjects in depth,
their poor reading and evaluation skills. &omputers also tend to isolate students, to turn
them into computer geeks who think cyberspace is actually real. /ome students have
found they have a serious and addictive case of $%ebaholism,$ where they spend hours
and hours on the computer at the expense of their family and friends. =nfortunately,
computers tend to separate, not sociali6e students. ,inally, we need to think about who
has the most to gain or lose from computers in the schools. )re administrators getting
more students $taught$ for less money( )re big companies training a force of computer
worker bees to run their businesses( %ill corporate &-1*s use technology to isolate and
control their employees(
In short, the much ballyhooed promise of computers for education has yet to be reali6ed.
-ducation critic Theodore Ros6ak has a warning for us as we face the brave new world of
computer education8
2ike all cults, this one has the intention of enlisting mindless allegiance and
ac'uiescence. 3eople who have no clear idea of what they mean by information or why
they should want so much of it are nonetheless prepared to believe that we live in an
Information )ge, which makes every computer around us what the relics of the True
&ross were in the )ge of ,aith8 emblems of salvation.
I think if you examine your own experience with computers, you*ll agree that the cult of
computers is still an empty promise for most students. &omputers, the Internet, and the
%eb will not magically educate students. It still must be done with reading, study, good
teaching, and social interaction. -xcellence in education can only be achieved the old
fashioned way##students must earn it.
##0udley -rskine 0evlin
I. Write a prcis of the following news report
%al#;art is such a dominating force that when it enters a market, few rivals are left
unscathed. >ut in the tiny town of -mo, 1nt. # population, ?,?@! # grocers 0an and ;ark
2oney found a formula for their store to take on the discount titan. )nd they*re doing it
with %al#;art*s own products.
) few years ago, %al#;art &anada &orp. set up shop in nearby ,ort ,rances, 1nt.,
forcing the brothers to come up with a new game plan. -mo sits on the =./. border, so
they began crossing regularly to pick up bargain#priced merchandise to stock in their
store. They do most of their =./. bulk buying at /am*s &lub, the warehouse chain owned
by %al#;art /tores Inc. They don*t stop at that. They post signs on the shelves of their
&loverleaf +rocery, touting their prices as lower than %al#;art*s.
>ut the 2oneys* aggressive resourcefulness has hit a nerve. 1n ;onday, they received a
letter from a lawyer for %al#;art, telling them to stop using %al#;art*s trademarks in
their advertising. 1therwise they risked a legal spat.
$%al#;art has enough time to spend on us($ 0an 2oney asked rhetorically in a telephone
interview this week from his store, which generates about A!.B#million in annual sales. $It
blows your mind away.$
Cevin +roh, a spokesman for %al#;art &anada, said in an interview that it takes its
business in the ,ort ,rances market as seriously as any other. 7e said the 2oneys*
customers are being misled by what are sometimes unfair price comparisons. The
products being compared are not always being sold in the same time frame, market or
package si6e. 7e acknowledged that /am*s &lub was built to serve small businesses such
as the 2oneys*. >ut %al#;art believes its name is being misrepresented in the 2oneys*