South African elementary school learners' perceptions of computers as a technology : with particular reference to learners from economically disadvantaged and historically disenfranchised backgrounds
Mhlane, Hintsa Zwelinzima
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The purpose of this research study was to establish firstly, whether elementary school learners from previously disadvantaged communities do have negative perceptions towards computer technology and if these perceptions exist, to what they may be attributed. Secondly, there is a need to provide research-based approaches to the use of computers in education, particularly in the delivery and support of the curriculum. The international education community considers computer technology as a panacea for solving most of the epistemological and operational problems currently beleaguering the education enterprise. The development of learner perception should not be viewed in isolation but rather in the context of the two environments that the elementary school learner is exposed to; home and classroom. These environments are determined, largely, by socio-economic conditions, societal values, educational ideology and classroom praxis. The above determinants are fundamental in shaping the elementary school learner's perception of the learning process in general and the use of computer technology in the learning process in particular. Since the early 1970s, a myriad of teaching and learning programmes known as computerassisted instruction (CAl) and computer-assisted education (CAE) have been developed. Furthermore, computer technology has been used extensively as a pedagogical tool in a number of numeracy and literacy programmes. As a result of these developments it has become necessary to initiate serious research into Technology Education, in general, and the use of computers in education, in particular.