Luxury or necessity? Eleven-year-old James High pondered the meaning of
each word. He considered the personal computer in front of him before
answering the question.
"It's sort of both," said High, a sixth-grader at Stonewall Middle
When he and others at the James Paige Learning Center use a computer to
change the screensaver or to play Hearts, that's a luxury.
But some people need computers for their work, and that makes
them a necessity, he said.
He hopes to get one at home soon. He will use it to play games,
which is a luxury. But he will also use it to type and to print things for
Homework, unfortunately, is a necessity. But he and his classmates
could always do it the old-fashioned way. They could look up sharks and
mammals, rocks and wars in the regular encyclopedia, and copy facts into
their own words. If you think of it that way, a computer is not so
But they are, says Pat Fot, director of the YWCA's Child Enrichment
Starting in elementary school, students are expected to research
topics and to write about what they learn.
"You want the most current information, and that's not necessarily in
books in the library, but on the computer," Fot said.
The child with a computer at home can find all this information, plus