Date of Award

2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Anthony Fetherston

Second Advisor

Dr Jan Gray

Third Advisor

Allan Bertram

Abstract

The main advantages and disadvantages of the Telematics environment for talented mathematics students were investigated through a case study. The case study considered the interaction of, and opinions of 11 Year 9 students and the teacher/researcher. Participants were from nine schools in regional Western Australia, and were withdrawn from face-to-face classes to attend mathematics transmissions. Qualitative data were collected through student interviews, an anonymous questionnaire, tape recording of lessons, and teacher field notes. Students all agreed the main disadvantage occurred if timetabling for Telematics transmissions did not align with their local school class times for the same subject. The teacher perceived the main disadvantage was that during lessons, for various reasons, students chose not to contribute, making it difficult to gain responses from students and create productive class discussions. Many students felt intimidated to contribute during class discussions. Allowing time during lessons for social interaction and encouraging students to reply directly to each other's contributions led to many students feeling more at ease to talk during lessons. The researcher perceived the greatest advantage of learning through Telematics was that with the small classes she was able to work more on an individual basis with students and to check that students understood individual concepts. Towards the end of the data collection period, some students were offering comments on other students' work and their thoughts on the material being developed, without prompting. The research concluded that for a particular issue, student responses were often in opposition. Consequently although some students found one aspect of his/her learning environment a distinct advantage, others found this a disadvantage; and for others, the same issue was unimportant. As such, it is not possible to categorise most aspects of the Telematics learning environment as either an advantage or disadvantage. Therefore rather than the teacher concentrating on eliminating or utilising certain aspects of the Telematics environment, the teacher needs to consider what individual students perceive as advantages and disadvantages and cater for those individual needs.

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