A cross-cultural study of the implementation of microcomputers into schools

Marilyn Fleer

Abstract


There is a strong commitment by education authorities for computer technology to become part of the curriculum in most Australian schools, however, little research has been focussed on how this will happen.

Many schools and education systems have had to rely on a trial and error method of implementation, resulting in a limited awareness of, and consideration for the:

...issues of equal opportunity or disadvantage. In fact, many of them (school staff) did not recognize a need for any special provision to address disadvantage due to gender, ethnicity, race or physical or mental handicap, (Jennings and Bradley, 1984, p.10).

The findings of this broad based review of Western Australian computing programmes was possibly an indication of general trends Australia wide. In 1985 the National Advisory Committee in Computers in Schools recommended that:

...planning committees will need to make special provision to encourage access to the program by groups such as girls, aboriginals, disadvantaged students and the disabled, (1985, p. 29).

It appears that only limited research is available to guide these committees on the identification of the special provisions needed to encourage access to the programme by these special groups. Given the cross-cultural context many educationalist work in, and the implications this holds for Aboriginal schools children, research into computer education for Aborigines is urgently needed.

This paper presents the research findings of a study which collected data on school and community perceptions about the introduction of computer technology and the implementation of computer education into six Western Australian Government schools with substantial Aboriginal enrolments. A significant number of factors were found to influence the take-up of the technology by individuals in schools. These factors, although focusing on Aboriginal education, were relevant to most school contexts and implementation plans for innovation.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2333