A Follow-up Study of Students Using Portable Computers at a Secondary School
Blackwell Publishers Ltd
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Education
This paper reports on the findings of a 1999 study that set out to investigate the current perceptions of students and teachers towards the use of portable computers at a secondary school. The aim was to compare these with the findings of a 1995 study carried out by the researcher at the same school. Data were collected from 102 Year Twelve students (17 year old), 104 Year Eight students (13 year old) and 40 teachers. The results indicated that for the Year Twelve students the computers had been of limited value while the Year Eight students appeared to be divided with about a quarter indicating negative attitudes. For the younger students the computers appeared to be used more often and for a greater range of tasks. Many teachers indicated concerns about the management of computers in the classroom and linking computer use to learning outcomes. These perceptions underline the need for targeted professional development, systematic support for the development of student computer-related skills, and changes in the curriculum towards more learner-centred approaches.