The aim of this study was to investigate how well pre-service teachers are being prepared by the Computers in Education course to integrate computers into their teaching methods by the Faculty of Education at the Instituto Superior de Ciências de Educação (ISCED) in Lubango, Angola. The study used a constructivist learning event devised by the researcher to assess how well the selected sample of pre-service teachers were able to use computers and the Internet to fulfil a series of tasks contained in the constructivist learning event under carefully controlled research conditions. After they had completed these tasks under experimental conditions, the researcher and her two assistants used various means to assess the performance of the participating groups in these activities. A qualitative case study approach was used for this study. The case study took place at ISCED in Lubango because ISCED is the only institution of higher education in Angola that uses computers to prepare pre-service teachers to integrate computer technology with their teaching. The course in which this takes place is known as the Computers for Education course. Twenty-one pre-service teachers and the two Information and Communication Technology (ICT) teachers of the Computers for Education from ISCED participated voluntarily in the study. The data collection instruments used included questionnaires for the pre-service teachers and ICT teachers; observation checklists for the pre-service teachers; interviews of pre-service teachers and ICT teachers, and scoring rubrics for the pre-service teachers’ task assessment documents. The data analysis method used in this study was that of interpretive analysis. The theoretical framework used to scaffold this study was the theory of constructivism devised by Bruner (1966). Bruner states that constructivism is the “theory of learning, where learning is seen as an active process in which students construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current or past knowledge”. In constructivist learning events of this kind, students select and transform information, construct hypotheses and make their own decisions in reliance upon their own cognition and previous knowledge and experience. Cronjé’s Model of Four Quadrants (2000), which enables a researcher to plot objectivism as complementary to constructivism, was used by the researcher as the basis for an analysis of data. The Model of Four Quadrants describes how learning theories such as behaviourism and constructivism exist as opposites in the quadrant upon which the model is based. An objectivist or behaviourist approach to teaching and learning assumes that knowledge exists essentially and independently outside the minds of both learners and teachers, and behaviourist methods of teaching effect a transfer of objective knowledge from the mind of the teacher to the mind of the student. In contrast to this, the constructivist approach is based on the assumption that all meanings are subjectively constructed in the human mind, and that learners acquire knowledge (and therefore education) by creating their own meanings while engaging in the solution of authentic learning tasks devised by the teacher. Constructivism does not recognise the existence of any kind of objectively independent shared reality that can be transferred materially from one mind to another. Although these two approaches are radically different from one another, and although they exist conceptually as polar opposites in Cronjé’s Model, elements from both models can be utilised to achieve a desired learning outcome. What the researcher has suggested in her analysis, conclusions and recommendations is that elements from both learning theories described in the model can be successfully used to teach ISCED students how to integrate computer technology into their teaching. Current teaching and learning practices at ISCED are predominantly behaviourist in method and outcomes since the ICT teachers at ISCED use mainly the lecture method for teaching. For formative assessment, the present teachers use question and answer methods. For summative assessment, they use multiple-choice questions, schedules that require students to insert information into blank spaces, projects, and essay-type questions. In contrast to this, they use learner-centred constructivist forms of teaching such as projects, group work and verbal expression of appreciation to encourage learner performance. The teaching of the Computers in Education course at ISCED may therefore be said to combine both behaviourist and constructivist methods of teaching.
Dissertation (MEd (Computer Integrated Education))--University of Pretoria, 2007.