A descriptive study of teachers' and educators' perceptions of the educational features of STEM~Net and the effect of an online unit of study

Lynch, Edith Marie (1995) A descriptive study of teachers' and educators' perceptions of the educational features of STEM~Net and the effect of an online unit of study. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This study was designed as a qualitative study to determine the educational expectations and experiences of K-12 teachers and educators in Newfoundland and Labrador as they become users of STEM~Net. More specifically, the study was intended to determine the perceptions of K-12 teachers and educators of various educational computer network activities; and, to investigate the effect of an online unit of study on teachers' and educators' understanding of these features. -- The study consisted of several stages of data collection and analysis. In the first phase of the study data were collected through a survey questionnaire that was sent via electronic mail on STEM~Net to 200 teachers and educators. The data from the questionnaire provided the information for the implementation and development of a small group activity. The main purpose of the small group activity was to assess the impact of an online unit of study on teachers' and educators' understanding of the educational features of STEM~Net. The basis of the online unit was a series of six tutorials that were sent to the members of the small group. Through the tutorials members were encouraged to explore educational databases on the Internet through File Transfer Protocol, Gopher and the World Wide Web. Data from the survey questionnaire, the evaluations of the small group activity and the online messages of participants were collected and analyzed to address the major research questions of the study. -- The findings of the study suggest that teachers and educators perceive the educational features of STEM-Net to be useful and valuable to them in their teaching. The study also revealed factors that may influence teachers' and educators' understanding of the educational features of STEM-Net. Key issues that were identified include training materials, group and technical support as well as technical difficulties and time and access constraints. Finally, the design of the online unit of study seemed to be critical to the success of the group activity. The design of the unit incorporated group discussions and interactions, with the researcher as facilitator. The focus on a specific topic that addressed the needs of the group also contributed to the very positive participants' assessment of the effect of the group activity.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/4464
Item ID: 4464
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 83-85.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1995
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Stem-net (Computer network); Computer-assisted instruction--Newfoundland and Labrador; Teachers--Newfoundland and Labrador--Attitudes

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