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

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posted on 2023-05-26, 22:25 authored by Fluck, AE
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.


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

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