The adoption of computers as an instructional tool by Michigan Head Start teachers
Cynthia Jeanne Bewick, Michigan State University, United States
Michigan State University . Awarded
In order to succeed in an increasingly technological age, Head Start children must learn about and with computers. Researchers suggest that poor children do not have computer access at home. Head Start teachers can bridge the gap between home and public school success by using computers as instructional tools. However, Head Start policy makers and administrators make decisions regarding fiscal, physical, and human resources without data regarding the availability of computers and the ways teachers use them. Previous studies have not used Head Start teachers as their focus.
The investigator described computer resources in Head Start classrooms, how and to what extent teachers used computers for instructional purposes, and how teachers learned about computers. Contextual and personal variables related to computer use by teachers were also examined.
The researcher collected data from 323 randomly selected Michigan Head Start classroom teachers, using a mailed survey instrument. Data analysis consisted of frequency counts, descriptive statistics and one way ANOVA.
Head Start teachers generally use and have computers available in their classrooms. Many teachers use computers for instruction and instructional support, although some use them in a limited fashion. One out of three teachers do not integrate the computer center with other classroom activities and materials. Head Start teachers primarily learn about computers by “messing around” and through interaction with other people. Teachers reported that five contextual variables (talking with other Head Start teachers, type of software, curriculum guidelines, training on computer operation, program philosophy) and four personal variables (knowledge about computers, previous experiences with computers, comfort level with computers, and household income) were related to making their computer use with children significantly easier.
Bewick, C.J. The adoption of computers as an instructional tool by Michigan Head Start teachers. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University.
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