The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

August 27, 2012

Computer age reached Oneonta schools in 1980s


The Daily Star —

Helen Kittle, another math teacher, said computers help poor math students. “What they need is repetition and drill. We find that students do better this way than pushing a pencil around.” 

Kittle also said advanced students can find challenging tests on the computer as well.

That autumn roughly 100 students were enrolled in computer courses in the junior high, and that enrollment was due to expand. About 150 were taking part in Milavec’s newly formed computer club.

A few students came to school that year with some computer knowledge and experience. During the summer months while others were out playing baseball or swimming, 38 teenagers from around the state were at Hartwick College at a computer summer camp in July. Three were from the Oneonta area. They learned about computer graphics, programming and other areas of computer science.

“It’s a very draining and enjoyable experience,” said Dr. Ronald Brzenk, director of the camp. “They find the computer is not very forgiving. If you make an error it will tell you so. You have to be prepared to be humbled.”

“You’re going to have to know computers in the future,” said Lauri Fiensod, then 16, of New York City. “It’s a good way to get a good job. It has potential.”

It was reported in the Star in September 1993 that all city schools had computers labs, and the equipment was getting more sophisticated.

Long before these computers were used in Oneonta, it was reported on Monday, Sept. 18, 1967 that data processing had arrived at Oneonta’s public schools, “and administrators are already gloating over savings in money and manpower they see looming over the horizon.”

The new system was rented to handle annual tax billing, payroll, and accounts payable, among other tasks. The system consisted of an “IBM 402 processing machine, a sorter that will select the desired cards from a coded file, and a ‘key punch’ to make new cards for the filing system.” The rental for a school year was $6,000, a cost saving of $1,500 over hiring two data clerks.

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Mark Simonson

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