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

II. PROBLEM

We are used to thinking that the causes of the present lie in the past. But in a very real sense the causes of the present may lie in the future. That is, the image of the future that people have in their heads can have a dramatic effect on what they do right now.

The past shapes the future through the medium of a situation, and the future shapes the past through the stories we tell to account for and explain our situation (Connelly and Clandinin,1988:9).

I work daily with young people who expect to become manual workers and with such aspirations they can see no clear connection between their goals and what they are doing in school, so their future occupational status and their current performance loses its meaning. Similarly, I observe parents brought up in the dominant North American middle-class orientation who typically pass on to their children a temporal perspective that discounts the present and past and looks toward the future. Many of today's teachers, and the curricula they use, seem to be doing little to make these critical links between past, present and future.

Proponents of Dewey such as Childs (Dewey and Childs,1933), Dworkin (1959), Kaplan (1961) and Miller (1988) have been telling us for a century that for youngsters to function well in school, they should feel that they are moving into a world in which they have desirable and meaningful roles. Unfortunately, many schools do not give their students such an image. Even if they try, the schools may not be able to undo the negative image inculcated by parents and others who shape the children's view of themselves and their prospects.

Our schools have ignored the fact that healthy intelligent persons will not motivate themselves to do something that they perceive as useless (Enns,1991). Most teachers and administrators are disappointed that students have not displayed more intellectual curiosity and self-motivation when involved in programs designed to allow them to develop their own interests within the traditional curriculum subjects. These young people, however, have spent their entire lives surrounded by the fast-paced 'razzmatazz of hi tech' everywhere except in our schools. When they walk into our schools they leave behind an environment rife with personal home computers, VCR tape rentals, satellite reception, digital audio -- a society where computer technology has pervaded almost every strata and facet. Today's students, who have never known a world without microchips, enter schools too often steeped in the past and characterized by staid classrooms of Victorian-straight rows, perfunctory lectures, and out-of-date text books (Charyk,1983). This dichotomy is experienced daily -- not only by students but by my colleagues and I -- the teachers in our education system. The danger is that, as the technological age avalanches into the 21st Century, the split in this dichotomous situation will ever-widen.

The over-riding problem reflecting this dilemma and which is, indeed, becoming more and more the cause of the situation is that computer technology is not used to its potential by kids or by teachers in our schools. It has been largely left out of the curriculum.


CONTENTS (QUICK LINKS)
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 Our Video Documentary
PART VI: Conclusions and Recommendations
REFERENCES
APPENDICES: Links To Our Related Websites

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