Date of Award

1-1-1995

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Rod Ellis

Abstract

This thesis reviews the methods and criteria that Western Australian school teachers and District Consultants of computers use in the selection of Educational computer software. Questionnaires were used to survey these two groups ( N=301, teachers and N=20 District Consultants) on aspects such as: how they select software; what criteria they employ in selecting software; how confident they feel about software selection; their level of training in software selection; and the skills and resources they have in software selection. This data was then analysed through the application of computer based analysis programs. From the data collected some questions arose about the methods employed in software selection and whether they were conducive to the selection of good quality software. The current status of the Education Department's ( formerly called the Ministry of Education ) preferred document on software selection 'Software Focus' was also bought into focus as a result of the data collected in this study. The questions raised in this study relate to several important issues, not least of all, how can Western Australian primary school teachers be helped in making careful and considered selections of software for their classroom? The findings of the research, provided useful information about the attitudes, understandings, skills and needs of the teachers in W.A. primary schools with regards to the selection of educational software. It indicated a need for further training in software selection; a need for increased awareness of the Education Department document ‘Software Focus’ and a need to bring to the attention of teachers the importance of the proper selection of software for increased efficiency. It also indicated that 'Software Focus' would need to be reviewed and updated to be the effective resource for which it was designed. This research also provided useful information about the similarities and differences which exist between W.A primary school teachers and District Consultants with regards to software selection. This research indicated that District Consultants and teachers differ significantly in their methods of selection of software and the factors which influence that selection. Other significant indications are that District Consultant are: more likely to assess software before they use it; feel better trained in software selection; have more tertiary training in software selection; use 'Software Focus' more frequently in the selection of software, and believe teachers to be better trained and more competent in software selection than teachers themselves do.

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