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The social effects of new technology in schools : the SENTIS report

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Fluck, Andrew,1955- (1995) The social effects of new technology in schools : the SENTIS report. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This SENTIS (Social Effects of New Technology in Schools) report examines some of the social
effects of new technology in schools. The main focus is on the relationship between sociability and
student computer use in schools. Other topics include gender bias, home computer use, socioeconomic
differences and attitudes to computer use. Evidence from personal interviews and a
statistical survey analysis is presented.
The study was completed in two phases. In phase one, schools from all sectors were investigated.
The data-collection techniques used in this first phase included an automatic network traffic probe.
Analysis of this intial data focussed the second phase on state high schools. Three of the phase one
schools were re-visited three years later in phase two.
In phase two, information was gathered from 12 representative Tasmanian High Schools. 4356
students completed surveys on their use of computers the previous school day. A sample of
teachers and students at each school were interviewed.
Group integration, as determined from a sociogram of each class, was found to be highly dependent
upon class size. The relationship between class size and group integration was determined, and
eliminated from the data, so that different schools could be meaningfully compared.
No significant correlation between sociability and increased computer use was found. Therefore,
the main finding of the SENTIS project is that computer use has no role in degrading friendship
relationships in schools.
A significant conclusion from the study is the extremely rapid rise in the proportion of the
curriculum which depends upon computer use in schools, and the equally rapid rise in the amount
of time students are spending each day engaged in computer use. Teachers expressed concerns
about the isolating effect of individual computer use. However, students felt that computers could
enhance friendships.
Suggestions for future research include the idea that SENTIS monitoring should continue on a
regular basis and cover additional aspects of socialisation. As the trend to greater computer use in
education continues, it will be increasingly important to establish not only the academic efficacy of
the new technology, but also whether the change in teaching methods is beneficial in terms of its
wider societal effects.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Computer-assisted instruction, Education, Computers
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1995 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 78-84). Thesis (M.Ed.)--University of Tasmania, 1996

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 00:00
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2016 04:59
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