THE INTEGRATION OF MICROCOMPUTERS INTO
THE HIGH SCHOOL LANGUAGE ARTS PROGRAMME

A RESEARCH PROJECT SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF EDUCATION
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF EDUCATION
BY
WILLIAM G. HILLMAN
B.Sc. (4 Yr. Honours) ~ B.Ed (5 Year) ~ M.Ed

I. BACKGROUND TO THE PROBLEM

 The human race is now experiencing the most rapid change in its history. There is little agreement, however, on where this change is leading or what its ultimate outcome and meaning may be. For certain, a hurricane of change is sweeping through all human institutions, upsetting, destroying, and creating more in a generation than was accomplished during centuries in times past. In the last few decades inventions and discoveries in almost every field have far surpassed the achievements of earlier ages. The current transformation "is as enormous as 10 Industrial Revolutions and Protestant Reformations, all rolled into one and occurring within a single generation," (Platt,1983:280).

Indeed, many people feel that "the change during the next 30 years may be equal in scope to the change of the past two or three centuries!" (Williams,1972:138). Unlike people of the Stone Age, Dark Ages, Renaissance and other shake-ups in history, people today are aware that they are living through a period of historic transition. The current transition is not just a transformation -- it is also a global crisis perhaps greater than any that man has ever experienced. The coming collective choices made by the human race will determine its long-term future or even whether it is to have a long-term future.

The unity of knowledge, the nature of human communities, the order of society, the order of ideas, the very notions of society have changed, and will not return to what they have been in the past. All of what is new is not just new because it has never been before, but because it has changed in quality... (Taylor,1972:121).

We are truly living in the era of McLuhan's global village and there can be no turning back from that reality.

 Down through the ages many scholars have shown a remarkable capacity for ignoring the present as well as the future. They have steadfastly looked backward, extolling the wisdom of by-gone ages rather than opening their eyes to what was around and ahead of them. Thus the scholars insisted on the correctness of Ptolemy's geocentric view of the cosmos (Hawking,1988) long after Galileo offered visible proof that Ptolemy was mistaken (Sagan,1977,1980). This antiquarian bias of the scholar passed into teaching and the teacher's function became that of filling the heads of students with the culture of the past (Eisner and Vallance,1974). Even now students are struggling with curricula lodged in the past while they desperately need the knowledge required to cope with a rapidly changing, highly complex world (De Bono,1990). The counterpart of society, the schools, are not flexible enough. They are staying where they are. They are not changing with the times (Kakewich,1966:35). Traditionally, schools have been committed to the idea that the student who mastered yesterday's experience was best prepared to cope with tomorrow's problems. The current rate of social and technological change just does not allow easy acceptance of this kind of doctrine.

While we have made progress in every other field, it is considered to be a matter of great pride that over more than two thousand years we have made no progress at all in developing new thinking tools (De Bono,1972:38).

But a revolution is brewing, due to the increasing exasperation of students, teachers, parents and the public at large, with the general irrelevance of so much of today's education. As a public school educator, I face a continual barrage of dropouts, burnouts, media criticism, disgruntled unemployed graduates and parents who threaten to send their children to private schools. Young people have urgent learning needs if they are to be well equipped for the future, and courses that do not provide essential learning should be completely revamped or dropped from the curriculum. We should recognize that today's curriculum is the residue of traditions dating back thousands of years, and generally reflects what teachers want to teach more than what young people need to learn (John-Roger and McWilliams,1991; Farber,1970). The past is the domain of wrongs that can never be righted -- the future is the realm of dreams that can be realized through common effort. Teachers should not be overly alarmed by the coming revolution -- they can learn new subjects, and they can also revise their approaches to current subjects to make them more relevant to the students' learning needs (Connelly and Clandinin,1988; Dunstan and Garlan,1970; Naisbitt and Aburdene,1990; Toffler,1970).

In schools in our division, costly computer technology in specialized labs for the programming elite lies idle through much of the school day, while throughout the rest of the building, students handwrite most of their assignments. Across the street, the business world -- the world of the office, in both urban and rural areas -- is humming to the sound of computers. Students entering the work place often report back to us that they find the experience akin to discovering an alien world -- a world for which they do not carry the skills for survival.


CONTENTS
Introduction: Abstract ~ Acknowledgements ~ Contents
PART I: Background to the Problem
PART II: Statement of the Problem
PART III: Key Question
PART IV: Method
PART V:   Description of Procedures of 
                   Integrating Computer Technologies 
                    into the Language Arts Curriculum:
SCRIPT:   Summary of Computer Integration Procedures:
                   Script for the Video Documentary
PART VI: Conclusions and Recommendations
REFERENCES
APPENDICES

Copyright 1991 & 2000
Bill & Sue-On Hillman Eclectic Studio
E-Mail: hillmans@westman.wave.ca