A few years ago, a book of this type and style could not or would not have been written. This is because, until a few years ago, no real in-depth knowl- edge of computers and computerized equipment was at the disposal of those with a nonscience, nonquantitative background. Some people from other disciplines-including business, the arts, and the social sciences-had been working with such equipment, but they had "gone over" and tended to be even more computer-conscious than those whom they served. It is only comparatively recently that people like Elisabeth Gerver with a firm arts and adult education background first of all became knowledgeable and then remained true to that background. To her eternal credit, Elisabeth Gerver, when she became involved, avoided being sucked into the world of the jargon or even that of the thinking of the computer scientists and the electronic engineers. On the contrary, she insisted that she was an educated woman dealing with other educated people, and that they would all speak in the language of everyday discourse. It worked! One consequence of her experience and her thought is this remarkably lucid and readable book.
It will prove to be of immense value to many in the world of adult and community education. But the beneficiaries will run beyond those sectors of society. Other people with a nonscience, nonquantitative background will surely find it of immense value in their early, inevitably hesitant and faulty, grappling with the world of new technology.
1: The Paradox of Computers.- Power and Frailty.- The Trivial Uses of Potential Power.- Intense Responses to Emotional Neutrality.- The Lowly Art of Using High Technology.- Friendly Words and Unfriendly Language.- Inaccurate Precision.- Economic Paradoxes of Computerization.- Social Paradoxes of Computerization.- The Ideological Flavor of Computerization.- Using a Computer for Word Processing.- Janus, Computers, and Community Education.- 2: Computers and Gender.- Gender Bias in Learning about Computers.- Factors in the Gender Imbalance of Computer Use.- Girls and Computers.- Redressing the Gender Imbalance.- Women Learning about Computers.- "Computers for Women" in New Zealand.- A Women's Technology Training Workshop in Britain.- The Women's Computer Literacy Project in the United States.- Other Ways of Encouraging Women to Use Computers.- 3: Computers and Informal Learning.- Why Learn by Computers?.- Why Learn about Computers?.- A Cautious Approach to Computer Literacy.- Computers and Adult Basic Education.- Using Computer Programs in Adult Literacy.- Using Computer Programs in Adult Numeracy.- Using Computer Programs in Health Education.- Other Uses of Computer Programs in Adult Basic Education.- Computer Literacy.- Computer Literacy Courses.- Computer Literacy Exhibitions.- Other Forms of Computer Literacy.- New Ways of Exploring Computers.- A Sober Look at Computers and Adult Learning.- 4: Using Computers in the Community.- Varieties of Community Computer Applications.- Case Studies.- Computers and Social Information.- Introducing Computer Systems.- 5: Cooperating with Computers.- Case Studies.- 1. Voluntary Expertise.- 2. Funded Voluntary Agencies.- 3. Public Bodies.- 4. Short-term Computer Projects.- 5. Nonprofit-making Computer Organizations.- 6. General Features.- Introducing Computers: Two Diaries.- 1. A Computer in Formal Education.- 2. A Computer in a Voluntary Organization.- The Marriage of People and Computers.- 6: Promises and Pitfalls.- New Models of Learning?.- Alternative Scenarios.- Computers as a Centripetal Force.- Appendix A: Buying a Computer for Community Use.- Appendix B: Further Reading.- Appendix C: Glossary.- References.