Open learning technology and the rural school: The effects on classroom practice

Richardson, Lesley (2001) Open learning technology and the rural school: The effects on classroom practice. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


New developments in information and communications technologies have rapidly made

their way into the forefront of educational concerns. With exciting possibilities for

global communication, access to vast amounts of information and new approaches to teaching and learning practices, a small number of schools have integrated the technology into the school environment. However, the majority of schools are just feeling their way and this is particularly so in small rural schools which are removed from the high technology communications networks of the capital cities.

This study placed open learning technology into three rural schools where the teachers

had control over its use. Using qualitative multi-site case study techniques, the effect of

the technology on the planning and teaching strategies of the teachers, classroom

organisation and management, changes in teacher-student interactions, student motivation, curriculum enhancement and/or extension, the role of the teacher, and professional development issues was investigated.

It was found that the use of the technology had a positive effect on encouraging open

learning and student-centred approaches to lesson delivery. The Internet and e-mail

were accepted by the teachers and the wider school community and became part of

normal classroom activities. Staff development opportunities figured largely in the

outcomes of this study being revealed as a necessity for teacher adoption of the

innovation. The leadership role of the principals emerged as an important theoretical

construct influencing the implementation of the innovation. Finally, the introduction of

the technology was found to contribute to breaking down the barriers of distance that

are a characteristic of rural and isolated schools.

By providing teachers in rural schools with access to open learning technology that can

be readily integrated into teaching activities, it is likely that lasting change in attitude to

the legitimacy of information gained through the technology, and a greater level of

independent student classroom activity, will occur.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 15860
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Lundin, Roy & Lidstone, John
Keywords: Communication and Information Technologies (CIT), Open Learning Technology, Learning Environments (technology rich), Open learning, Innovation, Rural Schools, Educational Change, Organisational Change, Educational Leadership.
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Department: Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Lesley Richardson
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:51
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 08:17

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