The Best of Creative Computing Volume 1 (published 1976)

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Electric Media (review, by Les Brown and Sema Marks)

graphic of page

psychiatrists and humanists have joined together to put forth proposals for
educational reform. With a dramatic call for "education in the future tense,"
they show why action learning, value clarification, racial and sexual equality,
along with simulations, games, science fiction and other educational innovations
need to be integrated and fused with a sense of "future - consciousness" if we
are to design effective learning systems. This sense of "future - consciousness"
must be developed early in the child's educational experience so that desirable
futures can be planned for, and undesirable futures avoided. Teaching children
to "model build", to see altemative solutions, to assume the responsibility for
the implications of such alternatives, should be the primary role of education
if we are to survive
in a world bombarded with rapid technological innovations.

Each chapter is a self-contained unit, written by a different author on a
different aspect of developing "a sense of the future". Yet, Toffler has done
such a superb
job of editing that the reader feels the continuity of a single authorship. The
book is absorbing, developing a sense of urgency for some drastic change in our
thinking on why we educate. It is also an eye opener, especially in the area of
sexual and racial inequities. "Why Women See the Future Differently from Men"
and "The Black Child's Image of the Future" should produce in the conscientious
educator some
sleepless nights.

This book is a must for all educators, instructors, and administrators alike. It
provides challenging alternatives in approach to all areas of study. It has some
vitally important things to say about the necessity for "real" change in our
educational institutions as we encounter ever more rapid rates of technological
change and accommodating changes in responding social structures.

Beginning where most proposals for education reform leave off, it demands change
not merely in how, where and when we educate, but in WHY we educate.

J. Leone

THE Journal, Acton, MA

* * *

Electric Media, by Les Brown and Sema Marks, 160 pp paper, $3.30. Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, 757 Third Ave., New York 10017.

Electric Media is one of six books in Harcourt Brace's "Making Contact" series.
It is a book that is at once fascinating, educational, and stimulating. A
combination. lt is even more remarkable when you realize that the authors are
describing on the printed page two media, television and computers, which go far
beyond ink on paper. Yet Les Brown manages to plug in the reader with arresting
discussions of America's adjustment to television (97% of households watch TV!),
equal time/fairness/quality issues, viewing habits, connection into the world,
public TV, and cable TV. Also in the TV section are interviews with Dick Cavett
and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin.

lf the TV section of the book rates as excellent, Sema Marks' section on
computers must be considered superlative! These 50 pages will do more to enhance
understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of computers than all the textbooks
in print. Even old hand computer people will have their eyes opened here. You'll
read about popular criticism of computers and what's wrong with it. You'll
marvel to computers doing once impossible problems. You'll worry when the data
bank privacy dragon rears its ugly head. And you'll go bananas when you read
about Alan Kay's "Dynabook" project and sample the dialogue of ELIZA and ANIMAL.
Closing out the book is a 1972 interview with Marshall McLuhan in which he
"1984 really happened a long time ago." How true. And what do we do now?

(Although this is a Harcourt Brace book, my experience is that it's very hard to
find. You can order it through Creative Computing Library Service - see ad - or
from Harcourt Brace directly - ISBN 0-15-318734-4, $3.30 plus shipping.
Teacher's Manual - ISBN 0-15-318736-0, $1.20.)

David H. Ahl

Computers and Young Children. Nuffield Foundation. John Wiley & Sons, Somerset,
NJ, 1972.

How and what to teach children about computers is the subject of this latest
Weaving Guide produced by the Nuffield Mathematics Project. The main parts of
this book consist of infonnation about preparing flowcharts and samples of
simple flowcharts produced by children; suggestions for a classroom activity in
which the children act as human computers; information about using and preparing
punched cards to present the program to the computer; and the description of
classes actually working with a computer. The elementary classroom teacher will
gain much information about computers from reading this text. She also will find
many practical suggestions for teaching children about computers.

Computer Poems, collected by Richard W. Bailey. Potagannissing Press, Ann Arbor,
Mich., $2.25.

Computer Poems is an anthology of verse written by sixteen poet-programmers;
selections range from clever computer-constructed pieces to poems that are
amusing despite their origin. Although programming techniques are not discussed,
this book will surely interest the computer buff and the layman alike.

Background Math for a Computer World, by Ruth Ashley. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,
New York, 1973. $3.95.

A self-teaching guide to the fundamental mathematical knowledge required for
further study of computer programming or computer science. Problems from a wide
variety of math application areas exercise analytical talents and help to
develop logical thought patterns. This is an excellent preview for further work
with computers for the nontechnically oriented educator.

Computers, by Jane Jonas Srivastava. Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York, 1972.

This book is part of the Young Math Books series, and is geared to the very
young (primary age) child, with delightful drawings by Ruth and James McCrea.

After beginning with "A computer is a machine for counting," the book goes on to
describe various uses of computers, as well as the functions of the five basic
parts of digital computers. There is even a super flowchart for "counting
giraffes met on the way to school."

The point is made that not only can a computer do a job very quickly, but it
will do the same thing over and over, without getting bored and asking, "When's

Above four reviews by:

Peg Pulliam

Lexington, Mass.

* * *

The Electronic Brain: How it Works, by Joseph J. Cook; 72 PP, $3.69; C. P.
Putnam, 1969.

This book is written for students from grades five through eight, discusses the
history, operation, and uses of computers. Unfortunately, the chapters are
inconsistent in their approach, frequently omitting information necessary
for the beginning student of computer science.

The chapter on the historical development of counting devices is both
interesting and informative. It is a brief overview covering only the most
important developments up to the MANIC - Mathematical Analyzer, Numerical
Integrator, and Computer. Two chapters, "The Arithmetic of Electronic Computers"
and "lnside the Electronic Brain" are written for those students who have a
mastery of the decimal system and an aptitude for mathematics. All students,
however, will understand and enjoy the chapters on present and future uses of
the computer.

Although the format is academic and not catchy enough to generate immediate
interest in the book, it should be in the school library as reference for those
students who have an interest in learning about computers.

Flora Russ

Berkeley, Califomia


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