Faculty of Education - Theses

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    Relationships between modernism, postmodernism, new technologies and visual culture in Victorian secondary visual arts education
    Potts, Miriam L ( 2001)
    This study investigates relationships between computer technologies, modernism, postmodernism, visual culture and visual arts education. The literature research focuses on relationships between modernism and new technologies, modernism and postmodernism, postmodernism and new technologies and art education and computer technologies. The field research consisted of three 'semi-structured interviews with secondary visual arts teachers in metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria. I investigated selected teachers' perceptions of the extent to which they addressed computer technologies, modernism, postmodernism and visual culture in their visual arts curricula. Initially I aimed to discover the extent that they included computer technologies and postmodern theories into their visual arts curricula. I used a combination of research methods when undertaking this study and in particular when analysing the field research findings. The deductive method of Orientational Qualitative Inquiry was combined with the inductive method of grounded theory. Whilst investigating relationships between postmodernism and new technologies using Orientational Qualitative Inquiry I found that modernism impacted upon both postmodernism and computer technologies. I then used grounded theory to document the interrelationships between modernism, postmodernism, visual culture, new technologies and arts education. This study was limited by several factors, including the following. Firstly, I limited the investigation to only three participants. Secondly, there were flaws inherent in the combination of inductive and deductive research methods. Most significantly, I was limited by the fact that the three interviewees worked in modern institutions. The relationships between modernism and new technologies encountered in section 2.1 were echoed by the interviewees' comments, particularly in sections 4.1 and 4.2. The interviewees held strong modern values such as a belief in progress and the importance of originality. The investigations surrounding postmodernism and visual culture in sections 2.2 and 2.3 were less well established in the field research. However, these were still present, especially in section 4.3. Finally, the traditions of the incorporation of computer technologies established in Australian and American visual arts education in section 2.4 were continued by all three participants in chapter four and summarised in section 5.1. By exploring relationships between modernism, postmodernism, visual culture and new technologies in visual arts education I found that modernism and postmodernism are not mutually exclusive but rather deeply interconnected.
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    What are the blockers/facilitators for a science coordinator to integrate datalogging into science teaching
    Weller, Jacolyn ( 2002)
    This project investigates a coeducational Secondary College Science Department that decided to introduce datalogging as a teaching tool. Datalogging is the electronic recording of data during an experiment using sensor probes. Decisions concerning the introduction of datalogging involved the science teaching staff, the laboratory technician and the Science Coordinator, all stakeholders in this process. This investigation was developed with the hindsight of a Literature Review, which provided the advice of others' experiences and catalogues the introduction in a case study format. Action research strategies were invoked through a series of focus interview questions, which provide a 'snap-shot' of the perceptions. From here a collaborative Change Management strategy of introducing datalogging into science teaching was produced. The factors that inhibited or prevented the use of datalogging in teaching were considered to be 'blockers'. Through interview questions the teachers and the laboratory technician were asked what they felt blocked their use of datalogging. The time required to become comfortable, familiar, confident and experiment with the equipment arose as the major concern for all teachers prior to using datalogging in science teaching, while the laboratory technician had more physical impediments. The technology capable participants did not encounter major hindrances. There was a constant limitation of equipment due to its expense, which was a factor accepted by all and where innovation in teaching style was required to overcome this impediment. However, all felt that visual 'memory-jogs' of the availability and uses of the equipment would encourage use. The factors that contributed to datalogging use were the 'facilitators'. These included a well rounded, informative and ongoing professional development strategy involving all staff members sharing knowledge combined with a laboratory technician who was conversant with the equipment, constantly promoting and encouraging usage and aiding the process. Throughout the project constant active problem solving emerged as a strategy by teachers whenever a 'blocker' was suggested. The advantage of collegial sharing through professional development was also recognised by staff and thought to integrate well when developing technology as a teaching tool. The process overall was time intensive due to lack of time in the working week when people are at different stages in embracing change and technology. Consequently whatever was learnt by individuals was regarded as worth sharing professionally.
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    Computer-assisted instruction in history
    Mthembu, Cecilia Wo ( 1987)
    The usefulness of computer-assisted instruction in the teaching of history is evaluated in this thesis. A number of evaluation schemes were reviewed and one, the MicroSift checklist, was applied in the assessment of some history programs used in schools in Australia. The MicroSift checklist was used within the context of Scriven's evaluation of software. Further evaluation of several of the programs was undertaken in two Melbourne Secondary Schools using Stake's Countenance Model. Questionnaires were administered to students and staff in both schools. Some evidence was found that the history programs had been well received in the schools. Comments have been made about the successfulness of employment of computers in Australian schools, and some recommendations offered for the development of appropriate software for South African use.
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    An assessment of the educational value of a computer simulation policy game in the teaching of higher school certificate economics
    Trewartha, Graeme Edward ( 1975)
    The use of computer simulation games in the teaching of the subject Economics represents a comparatively recent development in Australian educational practice. The original purpose of this research exercise was to examine the accuracy of the contention that participation in a computer simulation game on economic policy would improve Higher School Certificate economics students' understanding of government monetary and fiscal policy. To prove the accuracy of this hypothesis students from the economics classes of two high schools were subjected to a series of evaluation procedures. The exercises failed to provide a clear indication of a measurable gain in student understanding of the relevant topic area. However they did provide further evidence to the effect that computer simulation games represent a very successful means of motivating students.
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    An analysis of the literature surrounding the theories of systematic design & constructivism to ascertain the relevance of each approach for the learning of soft skills-- Is the systematic model for designing Web-based training suitable for all learners?
    Van der Sluys, Rebecca ( 2002)
    The purpose of this paper is to analyse the literature surrounding the educational theories of systematic design and constructivism to ascertain the relevance of each approach to developing web-based training programs appropriate for both the development of soft skills in industry as well as appropriate to the needs of different learners. The systems approach, which advocates set objectives and criterion-referenced testing, has dominated the design of training for many years. However many current web-based training programs are not enabling learners to achieve the standards of performance required to compete in a global economy. Organisations are interested in developing employees who can solve complex problems and apply their knowledge to new situations. To achieve this goal organisations will need to utilise more Constructivist design strategies as they are best suited to complex, ill-structured knowledge domains. Emerging from the literature was support for the position that novices benefited from the more structured and linear approach of the systems model, whereas advanced learners required a more constructivist learning environment that advocates an open and problem-based approach, allowing more learner control and input.
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    Beyond the transition : the microelectronic school
    Nash, Anthony Alan ( 1984)
    Society is currently experiencing a microelectronic based revolution in communications and information technology; the most visible sign of this revolution is the increasing role played by: the computer in everyday life. The evidence suggests that the impact will be even greater in future decades. Because the school will not be insulated from these changes, this thes is examines a potential outcome of the revolution; namely, the phenomenon of the 'microelectronic school'. The possible format of such a school is described and some of the educational issues that would need to be considered with the advent of such a format are analysed. In establishing criteria of desirable practice particular reference is made to the views of a number of educational theorists, especially Thomas Huxley, John Dewey and Martin Buber.
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    Computer aided learning for the physics laboratory
    Shaw, N. A ( 1985)
    Computer Aided Learning (CAL) can be described as a process by which an infinitely patient machine can (i) deliver material to a student using a variety of methods and media, (ii) interact with the student by accepting responses from the keyboard, and (iii) control a student's progress through a lesson by analysing the responses, then branching to new or repeated parts of the lesson. This thesis reviews some aspects of developing and evaluating such a CAL package. After considering a variety of approaches to the production of CAL adopted by different authors, the study considers in some detail those design rules thought to be pertinent to the development of an effective CAL program. Next the thesis proposes an hypothesis about a particular set of CAL programs, then describes an empirical study in which the hypothesis was tested using three computer aided lessons. These lessons were designed to teach students some of the physical concepts involved in a common physics experiment, and emphasis was placed on using computer simulations to present precisely the phenomenon which students would encounter in a real laboratory situation. Student interaction took the form of (i) using a ruler to measure features of the computer generated data, and (ii) using the keyboard to respond to questions, thereby progressing through the lesson. Small groups of students from local High schools participated in a pilot program, then later in a main study. Data from these experiments were then analysed in accordance with standard procedures. An attempt was made to identify and describe the experimental variables, and to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of this particular computer aided learning process. Readers should appreciate that the scope of the study was restricted and, as a result, the statistical interpretations are only indicative of a small scale empirical study. Readers should also appreciate that design rules proposed in the thesis are continually under review, particularly as new facilities (such as interactive video disk or tape) are introduced as part of the CAL process. The author was encouraged by several observed outcomes of the project, including positive student attitudes to the CAL technique, as well as indications of improved student understanding of the concepts being taught. Computer programs used in the study were simple and somewhat unsophisticated in comparison with more recently produced commercial software. Finally the thesis suggests that in the future CAL will become more prominent in the school and college curriculum. New techniques, particularly those involving interactive video, will have a major impact on the style of presenting material to students, resulting in effective individulized tuition.
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    Delineating usable interface characteristics of an online teaching and learning platform
    Karvelas, Voula ( 2004)
    Teachers are under enormous pressure to integrate learning technologies into the curriculum. Consequently, schools are turning to commercial providers as `off-the-shelf products require very little or no customisation and can be swiftly implemented. One such product, myclasses, offers an online delivery platform that can potentially meet schools' move towards incorporating technology across the entire curriculum. This study focuses on an Australian school that purchased the myclasses course management software and looks at the way the potential users (teachers) of the program interact with the software's interface. Specifically, the key question of this study is: Which elements or characteristics of an education-based software's interface are usable by educators? Several teachers participated in this study as `test users' to elicit rich data on human interaction with the program, which was subsequently analysed to determine which characteristics were usable by teachers. This was triangulated with a usability inspection method known as heuristic evaluation, which is widely used by human computer interaction (HCI) and usability experts. The findings indicate that most of the interface's characteristics were not usable by teachers; however, the relatively few usable characteristics that were delineated are important for practitioners and developers of education-based software, and specifically course management programs such as myclasses Further implications that emerged as a result of this study concern the ongoing challenge faced by educational institutions that have implemented course management systems under the misguided assumption that supplying staff and students with online content management software will automatically boost the innovation of educational programs
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    Computer education curricula for secondary schools
    Jones, Anthony John (1940-) ( 1983)
    Educationally the nineteen eighties may well be remembered as the decade in which computers were introduced, in a planned and co-ordinated fashion, into the primary and secondary schools of Victoria. Throughout this thesis it is argued that while the planning and co-ordination have begun, they are a long way from being educationally satisfactory or effective. In particular, the need for the development of a broad curriculum to cater for the teaching and learning of Computer Education throughout the years of secondary schooling is examined, and a course proposal outlined. The concept of "curriculum" is discussed. A number of definitions are cited, and several traditional and current curriculum models are examined in the light of what might best suit Computer Education. Because Computer Education is a new subject, its introduction into the education system must be considered on a school-wide basis, rather than simply as a separate entity at one level such as year twelve. The arguments being put forward by the protagonists of course development within individual schools, as opposed to centralised development and dissemination, are examined and ultimately rejected for the introduction of Computer Education. One important aspect of curriculum development concerns the relationship that exists between the subject matter to be learned and the pedagogical methods to be used. It is now generally accepted that content, sequences and methods will vary according to the stage of development or educational maturity, of the learner. However many teachers are unaware of the differences that may exist between the logical development of a subject and the development that is most appropriate for the secondary school student. This is evidenced by the many text books and curricula that plunge, almost from the very beginning, into teaching the novice student how to write a computer program. Other problems, both existing and potential, that Computer Education curriculum developers must apply themselves to include the un-necessary duplication of content between Computer Education and other subjects, the advisability of integrating Computer Education into existing subjects for at least the first three years of secondary schooling, and the difficulty of obtaining suitable hardware and software at a realistic cost to schools. The curriculum proposal contained in this thesis considers the years from upper primary to the completion of secondary schooling, and assumes that some authority, for example VISE, would have ultimate control over the content at year twelve level. In the early years of secondary schooling the emphasis would be on students using prepared programs for tutoring, simulation, exploration and recreation. During this period every student would learn to use a computer in a variety of modes and in several subject areas. Programming would be taught when and if the need arose, unless students elected to take a Computer Science subject at year eleven level or later. Finally, the problems relating to the training of teachers are investigated. To prepare every teacher for the introduction of computers into secondary schools, considerable changes must be made immediately to existing preservice courses for both primary and secondary teachers. As well, the method and content and duration of inservice activities would need to be rethought, redesigned and given a much higher priority than at present.
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    A study of the use of computer managed instruction in the teaching of Fortran
    Hawkins, John Anthony Bernard ( 1974)
    Like many other studies of the effectiveness (in the cognitive domain) of innovatory teaching methods, this study revealed that for the sample of students involved, there were no statistically significant differences in the test scores obtained by the experimental group using a programmed text, when compared to the scores of those who learnt Fortran by the traditional lecture method. However, for the purposes of this study, such a finding is not of great importance per se; it was necessary as a first step to ensure that students using the individualised learning method were not academically disadvantaged. Certainly, the students who used the CMI exercises with traditional lectures (Group 2) performed better on the final examination than those who used the traditional exercises; the CMI exercises can therefore be claimed to be of positive benefit to the students. (From conclusions)