Microcomputers in special education : a study of computer applications and teacher concerns

Collins, Donald (1991) Microcomputers in special education : a study of computer applications and teacher concerns. 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 motivated by the perceived need for appropriate staff development programs for special education teachers in educational computing by one major school board which was currently implementing Computer Assisted Instruction in all of its schools. The school board administration was concerned about the use being made of the computers placed in its schools and with teachers' perceptions of need, attitudes and current concerns. During the time period from 1986 to 1990, a variety of staff development activities were ongoing. -- Number of computers, location, presence of educational software, years experience of the teachers, availability of a software guide, and amount of time being spent using computers were factors investigated. The study examined the concerns of the special education teachers of one major school board and compared the High Schools, where computers have been in place for at least 5 years, to the Grade Schools (primary, elementary and junior high), where computers have been placed only over the past 3 years. The results were analyzed to determine if differences were apparent in 'level of use' and 'stages of concern' with this innovation - microcomputers. -- Subjects for this study were the special education teachers of 38 schools in one major school board. Data were received from 29 schools, i.e., approximately 76% of the sample. -- The data were gathered in January of 1987 and a preliminary analysis carried out over the next two months. A follow-up study was conducted in the spring of the 1989-90 school year. -- Most teachers had their highest level of concern on the area of 'staff development' with the 'availability of software' ranking second. This indicates that teachers require more information of a specific nature about the available software for Computer Assisted Instruction, what its capabilities are, and desire to know how teachers' roles will be affected by the introduction of this technology. -- The concerns of teachers in schools where a computer room existed were notably different from the concerns of teachers in those schools where accessibility to only 1 computer or to a few computers existed. Especially notable was the difference in the amount of time that High School teachers, who had access to a computer room containing at least 10 computers, spent on Computer Assisted Instruction compared to the grade school group of teachers who possessed far fewer than 10 computers. -- Significant differences were found at the 'awareness' and 'consequence' stages of concern between high schools, where computers have been in existence for a longer period of time, and the grade schools where only 2 to 3 years of exposure is the case. Teacher concerns in High Schools were found to be more pronounced in the 'consequence' and 'collaboration' stages of concern while teachers in grade schools rarely approached these stages of concern.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5019
Item ID: 5019
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 128-136.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1991
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Special education--Newfoundland and Labrador--Computer-assisted instruction

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