• tion access advantages of those living in geographically remote areas with access to the World Wide Web compare favorably to those living in the Big Apple. The information needed by many people, though perhaps not scholars, is largely available electronically. Telecommuting is another manifestation of information technology's location independence.
  • Alienation. There is recent, preliminary evidence that even a modest amount of time (one or a few hours per day) spend on the Internet can lead some users to feelings of depression and alienation.1 An apparent source of some alienation is that "friendships" formed via chat rooms can be more superficial than those formed through fact-to-face interaction. In addition, the time spent in front of a screen reduces normal interpersonal contact. This topic requires further study, and if the findings of the Carnegie Mellon University study are confirmed, would suggest the need for attention to the mental health consequences of changes associated with the use of information technology.
  • Predominance of English. Information technology is largely an English-oriented medium, because its development has followed the English-centric tradition of post-World War II science, and, perhaps more importantly, because the Untied States has played a dominant role in the deployment of information technology. While information in almost every written language can be found on the World Wide Web, a surfer must have at least a passable understanding of English to reap the greatest advantage of information technology globally. The implications for other natural languages are unclear, but is likely that many world residents will want to be bilingual in the near future.
  • 1  

    Robert Kraul et al. 1998. "Internet Paradox: A social Technology That Reduces Social Involvement and Psychological Well-Being?", American Psychologist, 53(9):1017–1031.

And, because the technology is powerful, the answer to the question cannot be superficial. If effectively using information technology were as simple as driving a car or using an automatic teller machine, it would be easy to teach what one would need to know about information technology in order to use it. But computers and communication are more versatile and in a deep sense more powerful technologies, making the educational task more challenging. (Chapter 2 grounds this assertion in more precise terms, and explicitly addresses the oft-mentioned analogy between driving and computing.)

While some applications of information technology require relatively

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