A computer database for school design and technology : A feasibility study.

LEWIS, John Timothy. (1990). A computer database for school design and technology : A feasibility study. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

An overview is presented of the development of design and technology teaching in secondary schools during the 1980s. In this decade, teachers were encouraged to involve pupils more in research and decision making activities which were increasingly identified as important educational elements of the discipline. Evidence from public examination work indicated that pupils were not engaged in these activities in very meaningful ways, particularly during practical project work. The author's own experience of teaching in schools indicated that resources and guidance to help develop research and decision-making skills in pupils were not readily available. Subsequently, when visiting schools as a teaching practice supervisor, it was noticeable that pupils appeared to be spending considerable time waiting for teaching assistance during project sessions. The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility of developing and using a microcomputer database as an alternative source of help for pupils when they needed to make routine decisions during their project work. A preliminary investigation was undertaken to ascertain the extent and type of pupils' questions to the teacher, and the nature of the difficulties which hinder pupils' progress when working on their design and technology projects. This was done using observation and interview techniques. To ensure that the microcomputer database reflected current school design and technology practice, information for its content was gathered from teachers using a survey questionnaire. Recognising time constraints, the content was confined to the practical activities highlighted as difficulties during the preliminary investigation and to the provision of routine information. After appraising a number of commercially available database and microviewdata packages, software was produced which incorporated aspects of database and microviewdata package design, yet operated on microcomputer equipment known to be available in schools. The software produced was trialled in schools. Its effectiveness and reliability were evaluated by the use of questionnaires distributed to pupils and teachers. Within the limitations of this feasibility study, it was concluded that, with an increase in content and refinement, the microcomputer database developed could provide a useful source of routine information to help pupils with design and technology research and decision-making processes, and enable teachers to manage project work sessions more effectively.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (M.Phil.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 1990.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:20
Last Modified: 18 May 2018 17:57
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19955

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