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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Facilitiating the integration of computers into the elementary school curriculum Kozack, Kelly

Abstract

A study involving a questionnaire and interview format was undertaken at an independent elementary school in British Columbia, Canada to investigate the factors that affect the integration of computer technology into the curriculum and to determine whether Personal Computers (PCs) or Macs in a computer laboratory or classroom setting would provide the best the learning opportunities for the students. Focus groups were used to discuss results from the questionnaires and interviews to develop a plan to integrate computers into classroom curricula. Nineteen subjects (teachers as well as administrators) took part in the study with an 83% response rate to questionnaires. Six subjects were randomly chosen to take part in in-depth interviews and all 23 teachers/administrators took part in the first focus group. Six teachers took part in the second focus group. Factors that were found to affect statistically (p < 0.05) the integration of computers in elementary curricula were age and experience of the teacher, teacher confidence, and perceived emphasis of computers in the school. It was agreed upon that integrating PCs into the classrooms would provide the best learning opportunities for the students by allowing easy access to computers. Following focus group discussions, a three-year plan involving a mentorship program was developed, accepted by the administration, and implemented where 24 PC wireless internet-connected refurbished computers would be purchased and integrated into 6 or 7 classrooms per year. The most confident teachers volunteered to integrate the computers in their classrooms the first year. These teachers then would act as mentors to the teachers integrating the computers in subsequent years, thereby providing guidance and assistance to the less-confident teachers.

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