Education as Change - Volume 9, Issue 2, 2005
Volume 9, Issue 2, 2005
Author Duan Van der WesthuizenSource: Education as Change 9, pp 1 –4 (2005)More Less
Extracted from text ... EDITORIAL 1 ICT in education The unifying theme of this edition of Education as Change is Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education. This special edition finds itself amongst several other journals with this theme, including Computers & Education, The British Journal of Educational Technology, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Education and Information Technologies, Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, and Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. In addition, several conferences are held annually, of which e-LEARN, ED-MEDIA and Online Educa are some of the largest. It is clear that the use of ICT for learning is deeply entrenched in ..
Source: Education as Change 9, pp 5 –23 (2005)More Less
Throughout academia, more and more instructors are spending time in electronic classrooms. Many of them believe that they are overworked and consequently underpaid. At the same time, administrators want instructors to be more active in online discussions. Consequently, instructors feel that they are caught between a rock and a hard place. This exploratory study asked administrators to create a set of expectations with respect to the frequency of content-related postings an instructor should make in an online discussion forum that is part of an online course. It also examined the performance of ten online instructors in the discussion forums of the online classes they were teaching in order to quantify the amount of time they were spending. Finally, the study projected how much time the instructors would have to spend to meet the administrators' expectations. The data indicate that while meeting administrator expectations would on average increase the workload of instructors by 50%, the amount of time actually spent is not onerous. This suggests that instructor perceptions of their workload may be being influenced by other factors, such as the structure of the discussion software or the pervasive belief that online communication has to be almost immediate.
Source: Education as Change 9, pp 24 –45 (2005)More Less
In order to evaluate the usefulness of computer-based games as viable learning tools, it is necessary to be able to measure the effects of game-play on player skills. The objective of this study is to design and evaluate an assessment instrument that directly measures Literacy (visual, logic and mathematical) and Communication (reading and writing) skills, as defined in the Persona Object Model (POM), in order to provide information that could contribute to the design of appropriate game-based learning tools. The POM, previously developed to define a typical player in terms of the Game Object Model (GOM), which incorporates modern educational theories to support the conceptualization and design of educational games, provides the theoretical underpinning for the development of an instrument to appraise literacy (visual, logical and mathematical) and communication (reading and writing) skills. This paper reports on the design, testing and use of this instrument, in order to quantify the skills of 5 groups of young South African learners (school students from Buhlebemfundo, Qhakaza and Tholokuhle, and first year students from the University of Zululand [UniZulu] and University of KwaZulu-Natal [UKZN]), prior to game-play. Results indicate that majority, except most of the UKZN sample, lack appropriate visualization, logical, mathematical, reading and writing skills. Analyses of the results suggest that poor performance might be related to language skills and socio-economic factors. Educational games for South African learners therefore need to include appropriate interfaces, content representations and puzzles that support different literacy and communication skills.
Source: Education as Change 9, pp 46 –73 (2005)More Less
This paper reports on a specific part of a larger inquiry at a Higher Education Institution (HEI) into how engagement with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) reflects change in epistemology and pedagogy of lecturers in an Education Faculty. In the larger inquiry, methods of gathering and analysing data were placed into a triangular hybrid of research methodologies that included components of the ethnographic, the ethnomethodological and the narrative tradition of qualitative inquiry. Lecturers had begun to question their 'ways of doing things' when confronted with technology and in some cases had even attempted to adapt their way of teaching. To illuminate this phenomenon, lecturers' personal experiences were woven into narrative segments based on data from each of the three components of the design hybrid. The findings of the inquiry show that it is in the narrative segments where the value of the research is to be found.
Access and resistance : challenges of using on-line environments to teach academic discursive practicesAuthor Arlene ArcherSource: Education as Change 9, pp 74 –95 (2005)More Less
As our literacy landscape is changing and information and communication technologies (ICTs) are becoming an ineluctable part of our future, we need to become aware of the ways in which technology can be used to enhance our broad educational objectives. A multiplicity of representational and communicative potentials is important to explore in Higher Education in South Africa, where there is still differential access to economic, educational and cultural resources. This study looks at using ICTs to teach certain academic literacy practices within a particular curriculum, a first year course for educationally disadvantaged students in an Engineering Foundation Programme. In particular, it focuses not only on how ICTs can aid writers in identifying with and acquiring the language of a discourse community, but also on how they can function as a forum for resisting the language and values of that discourse community. Through social semiotic analysis, this paper examines on-line discussions between students and 'experts', and students' comments on each other's writing. It shows how by using the language of text messaging and e-mail, by adopting different identities, dialects and social registers, the students in this study were able to create a 'liberated zone' for themselves - partaking in academic discourse, whilst also questioning it to some extent. Finally, some implications for curriculum design using ICTs in teaching certain academic literacy practices are highlighted.
Diversity on the South African Campus of Monash University and the implications for Faculty of Information Technology undergraduate coursesAuthor Judy BackhouseSource: Education as Change 9, pp 96 –111 (2005)More Less
Melbourne-based Monash University opened a campus in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2001. The student body on the South African campus is drawn from across Africa. This makes for classes where most students do not speak English as a first language, but where English is often the only common language in the class. Students also have varied experiences of education, of exposure to information technology and of business practices. Lecturers on the South African campus have encountered some interesting challenges in teaching material that assumes the common experiences of Australian school-leavers to this diverse student population. This paper examines some of the ways in which the differences between the student bodies in Australia and South Africa have necessitated alternative approaches to content and delivery of courses. It goes on to examine the dimensions of diversity within the student body on the South African campus that have been identified by lecturers in the School of Information Technology. Included is a review of the ways in which South African lecturers have adapted the content and delivery of material in order to address these differences. It concludes with some reflections on what a truly international degree might need to encompass.
The advancement of successful implementation of a computer-based training strategy in the South African corporate training environmentSource: Education as Change 9, pp 112 –130 (2005)More Less
Computer-based training is now widely recognised as a viable approach for education in institutions of higher learning, as evidenced by the number of institutions that offer courses (Van der Westhuizen, 1999:1). Corporate South Africa has embarked on a similar course of action. The researcher used a qualitative research design in this study, with participation from learning facilitators, learners and managers in 15 South African organisations. Data was collected by way of individual interviews, focus group interviews, observations and the analysis of legislative documentation. On the basis of a study involving a number of South African organisations, some requirements were found relevant for the successful implementation of a computer-based training strategy. The performance of the organisations selected for the study was measured against requirements for the successful implementation of computer-based training. Although the integration of online learning in the corporate training environment is still in its early stages, corporate South Africa is very advanced in certain aspects of computer-based training implementation.
Source: Education as Change 9, pp 131 –161 (2005)More Less
This article reports on a learning experience that was designed to investigate the extent to which a learning event would draw from both objectivist and constructivist traditions to provide learners with real-world projects so that they can construct their own programmes in collaboration with other individuals and develop new ideas for future systems. The study was done because the current South African curriculum for high school Computer Studies, in our opinion, is weak on higher order thinking skills. An experimental lesson was presented to high school learners, and monitored to determine the extent to which a learning experience could be designed using predominantly objectivist methods, but presented in a constructivist fashion. The evaluation showed that the lesson was successful. Learners scored better in their year-end results than previous years, and indicated that they enjoyed the real-world style. Using techniques developed for this lesson should help learners to do real world programming, and this would narrow the gap between school / university and the real world. Some recommendations for curriculum design emerge.
Author Elizabeth HenningSource: Education as Change 9, pp 162 –190 (2005)More Less
This article comprises a discussion in which a theory of culture as a system of mediation is used as an interpretativeion frame for the inquiry into the culture of a university course. The argument is that the theory of learning that is applied in the same study, namely sociocultural and related theories, coheres with the methodological lens of what I have termed "ethnography of mediation" as mode of inquiry. In the ethnographic "images of electronic tool-making", the ethnographic text included in the article, the core of the culture of the M.Ed coursework is portrayed is the focus on electronic, interactive tools. There is less fertile ground in which to cultivate theoretical richness in the course, despite the motivation of the lecturer and the strong theoretical course content. The students' tacit theories of learning and of knowledge are regarded as a possible obstacle in their appropriation of the literature on learning and teaching. The successful engagement with electronic tool-making seems to come from their more motivated engagement with learning opportunities in this part of the curriculum. It is also the core of the culture of this group of people in their learning environment.
The extended information ecology : a place where change can be embedded in the practice of post-graduate studentsSource: Education as Change 9, pp 191 –209 (2005)More Less
There is a trend in the professional development of teachers to focus on the acquisition of educational information and communication technology (ICT) skills, often at post-graduate level. Disturbing evidence from research, however, indicates that the skills acquired in post-graduate courses in educational computing in South Africa do not necessarily lead to change in the practice of the students. This could have dire consequences for the country, which relies on the education system to equip the future workforce with the skills to cope with the demands of the digital era. Using the metaphor of an ecological information community, this paper explores the characteristics of such a community: system, diversity, co- evolution, keystone species and locality, in the context of a particular class of students, and then discusses the role that each characteristic might have to play in the non-transference of new skills into teaching practice. Reasons offered by students themselves for their reluctance to exercise their expertise are presented and, lastly, ways are suggested in which the higher education information ecology might extend to supporting students as they seek to change by initiating embryonic information communities in their own schools and classrooms.