A critical investigation into uses of new technologies in the teaching and learning of adult literacy
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
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The study examines a group of courses run at a college of further education that attempt to integrate computer technology into established teaching practices in adult basic education (ABE). The courses use a range of teaching and learning strategies, and are designed according to principles partly derived from the findings of an inner city project carried out at Massachusetts lnstitute of Technology (Resnick, Rusk, & Cook, 1999). Course design is also informed by the experience gained from running an experimental course called Computer Creative (Harris and Shelswell, 2001) at a college of further education in south Wales. Two theories of learning have an impact on aspects of course design: a constructionist theory of learning (Papert, 1993) and socio-cognitive theory ffygotsky, 1978). Literature on studies carried out on classroom settings where ICT has been used in basic education is discussed, and recent developments in the field of literacy studies are reviewed. The researcher takes a mainly qualitative approach to the study, using observation of classroom interaction and semi-structured interviews as the principal methods of data collection. The results are presented in the form of a descriptive and analytical account of activities and events occurring within the classroom environment. Video-captured footage of interaction is subjected to analysis using Activity Theory (Bedny, 2000). Outcome data is also analysed. Findings from the study indicate that, although some aspects of approaches developed according to Constructionist theory can play a part in successful learning situations, there are also problems, particularly the lack of focus upon interaction between participants that the approach implies. The researcher concludes that course design can be more usefully based upon a socio-cultural view of teaching and learning processes.
MPhil Post-Compulsory Education
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