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CHAPTER 1

Introduction

This study presents the research undertaken to document the use of computers in the primary school. A literature search was done to describe appropriate models for the evaluation of the use of computers in schools and the challenges faced by educators and learners in the process of using computers to enhance teaching and learning. Glenstantia Primary School is situated in the Eastern suburbs of Pretoria, South Africa. They purchased their first computers in the mid-1980s 10 BBC computers running the Acorn operating system. In 1992 a new computer centre was established with 20 IBM386-computers running on DOS. These were over time increased to 35 computers. As the need for learners to learn more in the Windows environment increased, the Governing Body of the school approved the building of another Windowsbased centre for computer literacy. Another 30 Pentium II computers were soon purchased. The school has a very effective usage policy for the two centres and learners also have access to the centres after school hours. The Computer department is run by its own Head of Department (HOD) with one assisting educator. The aim of teaching computers at Glenstantia Primary School is set out in Table 1.1.

G.M. Kruger

Mini-dissertation M.Ed. (CIE), Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria

The use of computer technology in the Primary School

Table 1.1 Definition:

The aim of teaching computers at Glenstantia Primary School

Technology has existed throughout History. Today people still have needs and wants. Knowledge, skills and resources are used to find solutions and computer technology can play an important role in finding those solutions. The Purpose: The purpose of teaching learners how to use and work with a computer will give them opportunities to: Develop and apply specific skills to solve technological problems. Understand the concepts and knowledge used in technology and use them responsibly and purposefully. To appreciate the interaction between peoples values and attitudes, technology, society and environment. Learning Outcome 1 Learners are able to apply technological processes and skills and responsibly use appropriate information and communication technologies. Learners need to be equipped with knowledge and skills to be confident in accessing and working with various forms of information and data. Learning Outcome1: as assessment standards related to investigation (e.g. information gathering, storing, processing, management) and communication skills (e.g. presenting information, identifying sources). Use information and communication technology can include the following skills: Word processing all Learning Areas Spreadsheets Maths , EMS Data management HSS, EMS Graphics A & C, Technology, Languages, SS CD referencing all Learning Areas Aims 1. To enable every learner in the school to become computer literate and equip them with skills that they will able to use in the present and future . 2. To reinforce concepts learnt in the classroom by attending Computer Aided Instruction classes in the Computer Room. 3. For Foundation Phase learners to improve their perceptual skills and reinforce Maths concepts while incidentally learning computer skills and enjoying themselves. 4. After school hours Learners may use the computer programmes to remediate problems and have extra practise in less skilled areas. Grade 6 and 7 learners may join Computer Club to have fun using the computer while extending their thinking capabilities. 5. To train all educators to learn new computer skills and improve their computer skills thus enhancing the education of all the learners.
Addendum 1

G.M. Kruger

Mini-dissertation M.Ed. (CIE), Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria

The use of computer technology in the Primary School

1.

The Research Question

The teaching of basic computer skills in Primary school is getting more and more relevant. It becomes more apparent during the last years of the Intermediate Phase and the first year of the Senior Phase (Grade 5 to 7). Basic word processing skills are no longer the only computer related requirement in the Senior Phase (Grade 7 to 9). Outcomes based education (OBE) places the responsibility for learning at the door of the educator and the learner. This means that the learner must have the skills to facilitate and enhance his/her own learning. Although libraries and media centres still play a vital role in this process, computers and the Internet have taken a very important place in the knowledge management of learning. The aim of computers in Primary School is therefore not technical, e.g. programming, but more practical. It aims to prepare learners adequately for integrating computers in their learning at High School and beyond. Glenstantia Primary is the largest English-medium primary school in Pretoria and it is situated in Constantia Park, a middle-class suburb. The school is funded by the State, but parents pay annual school fees to assist the school in meeting all its educational needs. The school is responsible to the parent community for all money spent. The computer budget takes up a substantial portion of the total budget of the school. It is therefore necessary to assess the effectiveness with which computers are used for educational purposes at Glenstantia. The research question can be described as follows:

How effectively are computers used for educational activities at primary school level (Grade 1 to 7)? To answer this question, two questions need to be answered:
G.M. Kruger Mini-dissertation M.Ed. (CIE), Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria

The use of computer technology in the Primary School

What is the current state of the use of computers at Glenstantia Primary School? What factors support the current state of the use of computers at Glenstantia Primary School?

The main theoretical questions that need to be answered are: What is Outcomes Based Education? What are the constraints of Outcomes Based Education? What is understood by the term Computer Integrated Education (CIE)?

The main objectives of this research project are: Identify a model that can be used to assess Glenstantia Primary School's use of computers. Assess Glenstantia Primary School in terms of the chosen model. Make recommendations for the improved use of computers at Glenstantia Primary School and Primary Schools in general. The researcher used his role as educator at the school to drive the research and to describe the use of computers in the primary school.

2. The Research Plan


Numerous sources were consulted to find an appropriate theoretical background to the different sub-questions posed in the research question: Outcomes Based Education and its influence on education in South Africa; the term Computer Integrated Education (CIE) had to be defined clearly, and its significance in primary school education had to be researched; a model for the integration of Computer Integrated Education in an institution had to be found, and Glenstantia Primary Schools progress with the process had to be assessed;
G.M. Kruger Mini-dissertation M.Ed. (CIE), Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria

The use of computer technology in the Primary School

models for the investigation of the diffusion of the innovation (computers in teaching and learning) had to be found, and Glenstantia Primary Schools progress has to be assessed.

Qualitative research was necessary to answer the research question on the effective use of computers at Glenstantia Primary School. A quantitative perspective to the research topic of the use of computers at Glenstantia Primary School was also necessary. A questionnaire was developed to measure the use of the computer in teaching and lesson preparation. Data was collected by interviews and observations to supplement data from questionnaires. The research is of a mixed qualitative and quantitative nature where the quantitative data is used to support observations. The subjects of the study are the computer staff and the general teaching staff at Glenstantia Primary School and the infrastructure of the school and the computer department. The data is reported by means of tables, charts and text. The data collection took place at Glenstantia Primary School during August and September 2003.

3. Limitations of the study


This research project investigates the use of computers in the primary school. It is a contribution to the understanding of the use of computers in primary schools. It will also help to document the use of computers in the teaching and learning processes in primary schools. The research study further suggests aspects to be considered in the motivation of establishing a new kind of computer centre: an integration centre. Due to the limiting scope of this mini-dissertation, this research report does not include interviews with parents of the school or comparisons with other primary schools. This has a limiting effect on the findings of the research done, but does not affect the validity of the research. The validity of the

G.M. Kruger

Mini-dissertation M.Ed. (CIE), Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria

The use of computer technology in the Primary School

research is further supported by the triangulation of the findings with the theoretical background in Chapter 2.

4. Organisation of the mini-dissertation


This mini-dissertation is organised into six chapters.

CHAPTER 1. Introduction 2. Literature review

3. Research methodology 4. Findings 5. Synthesis 6. Conclusion

CONTENTS Introduction of the research project and statement of the research question. Defining Outcomes Based Education (OBE) and Computerintegrated education and the infrastructure necessary for the integration of computer-assisted education. A model for describing the integration of computer-assisted education is selected. Factors that contribute to the current status of computers at Glenstantia Primary School are described. Description of research instruments Description of the status of the use of computers in teaching and learning at Glenstantia Primary School. Synthesis of the Evolutionary Model of the integration of computer-assisted education and the findings at Glenstantia Primary School. Summary of project and recommendations for further research

G.M. Kruger

Mini-dissertation M.Ed. (CIE), Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria

The use of computer technology in the Primary School