Barriers and Incentives to Computer Usage in Teaching
Technical rept. no. 1, 1 Sep 1985-1 Sep 1988
PITTSBURGH UNIV PA LEARNING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER
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An intensive qualitative two-year study of computer usage in an urban high school suggested many barriers to the utilization of microcomputers for instructional purposes. These barriers included a teachers lack of clarity about why and how computers can be used in various fields, b teachers lack of familiarity with computer hardware and software, c the overload of knowledgeable teachers, d the inertia inherent in a system in which well- established alternative procedures seem to be working adequately, and e the threat that the process of learning about and using computers posed to many teachers sense of competence. Incentives leading to computer usage were considerably fewer and weaker. The included a teachers belief that important instructional goals could best be met through computer usage, b teachers own personal enjoyment of computer usage, and c administrators belief that computers were useful as a public relations tool in attracting and retaining the students who might otherwise attend private schools. The study also found indications that when computer usage does occur to a substantial extent it may markedly influence important aspects of classroom structure and functioning. For example, there was reason to believe that heavy use of at least certain kinds of software led to a shift in grading practices and changes in the amount and type of attention given to students of varying achievement levels. Keywords Computer aided instruction, Technological innovation, Educational change, Teaching methods.
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