The Infiltration of the Microcomputer in Schools in England and Wales and its Mode of Usage.

Bell, W (1986). The Infiltration of the Microcomputer in Schools in England and Wales and its Mode of Usage. BPhil thesis The Open University.



This study was carried out to investigate the manner in which this technological innovation was being implemented in a cross section of schools in England and Wales. Ultimately it was to ascertain the pedagogical approach employed, and if the promised revolution in teaching and learning procedures, attributed to the use of the microcomputer in education was forthcoming.
The contribution to societal needs was also investigated, and gender differences in pupil's attitude to using the microcomputer.
Suitability of chosen equipment, courseware, and problems encountered were especially sought; the result of any such problems or inefficiencies could be responsible for the efficacy or otherwise of the method.
Areas where further research was required were established.
The thesis is not of the hypothesis testing type, but more a series of case studies.
The findings are that:
(a) While the pedagogical approach mainly follows the traditional method of teaching, there is developing, in some classrooms, a change in emphasis on how children are learning.
(b) Some upper schools especially, are attempting to fulfil societal needs by changing the content of computer courses.
(c) While a notable difference develops in the attitude of boys and girls to using computers, girls, especially in the upper schools, are becoming more interested in specific topics that are being introduced.
(d) Future educational software programs need to react intelligently to pupil's requirements; the microcomputers mainly in use at present are unsuitable. Overall they have not helped the case for computer aided learning.
(g) The use of the microcomputer in the classroom is increasing and staff resistance to using it is diminishing, despite a lack of evaluation as to its effectiveness.
(f) Perusal of educational software reveals the lack of systematic planning at the development stage.
Further research areas would be to investigate the following: the reasons for and policies to counteract gender differences, the formulation of evaluation techniques, the possibility of the use of intelligent knowledge-based systems in the classroom.

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