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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Intermediate computer use : a survey of the nature and extent of computer use in intermediate classrooms in British Columbia Beairsto, James Atley Bruce


The use of computers at all levels in the educational system in British Columbia has been expanding rapidly despite a noticeable lack of provincial direction and support. With increasing funding this expansion can be expected to continue and even to accelerate. As computer-based instruction becomes more prevalent the need for programs of in-service training becomes increasingly important. This study reports the results of a survey of the nature and extent of computer use in intermediate classrooms in British Columbia. It was conducted to collect the descriptive baseline data necessary to design an in-service program. The study also examines the educational motivations for computer-based instruction cited by teachers. Data was collected using a province-wide mail questionnaire distributed in December 1985 and a series of telephone interviews in April, May and June of 1986. The results indicate that: a) There is great diversity in the availablity of hardware and software across the province. b) There is great diversity in the experience and training level of teachers across the province. c) In general, computer access is severely limited. d) In general, intermediate teachers have minimal training in the educational use of computers. In general, intermediate teachers have very limited experience with computers. The most widely used programs in intermediate classrooms are Bank Street Writer, Logo, typing training programs, mathematics programs and various materials from the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC). The respondents ranked computer-based strategies superior to traditional strategies in teaching language arts and problem solving. The educational motivations cited by the respondents fell into seven major categories characterized, in descending order of frequency of citation, by the following key words: utility, interest, literacy, drill, enrichment, reinforcement and individualization. There is little evidence of any developmental pattern, associated with an increase in experience, in the educational motivations for computer use cited by the respondents. The correlations which do exist indicate that with increased training and increased length of time using computer-based instructional strategies teachers tend to devalue the objectives of promoting computer literacy and inflate the objectives of reinforcing traditional instruction, individualizing instruction and using the computer as a productivity tool for text editing.

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