A Case Study Into the Effects of Implementing Web-Based Instructional Technology in a Primary School Classroom in Trinidad and Tobago

A Case Study Into the Effects of Implementing Web-Based Instructional Technology in a Primary School Classroom in Trinidad and Tobago

Gena Mae Mohammed (The University of Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5557-6.ch004
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Redesigning teaching for the 21st century in Trinidad and Tobago involves several mechanisms to be put in place to ensure our students are equipped with competencies and skills to lead a sustainable life. One such mechanism is the implementation of computer and web-based technologies in the public primary school classroom. Traditionally, computers are not used within the classroom for learning; neither are computing nor Information Communication Technology (ICT) taught as subject areas. The case study presented in this chapter explores the effects of implementing web-based technology into classroom instruction. Specifically, it was implemented into the Language Arts classroom to help students to develop grammar skills in their writing tasks. The research found three effects: 1) an established technological infrastructure needs to be in place for successful implementation, 2) the role of technology on student learning, and 3) the influence of technology on student behavior in the classroom.
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In developing countries, technology-rich classrooms are the exception and not the norm. The ideal is utilizing the technology in conjunction with what is being taught in the classroom. Collier (2007) states “21st-century literacy-oriented teaching offers additional benefits to students, allowing them to incorporate the technology they increasingly use in their everyday lives, and which they will need to master in order to find success in tomorrow’s workplace” (p.4). Yet, if the redesign of teaching is to take place to facilitate a shift to 21st century learning in the primary schools of Trinidad and Tobago, it is crucial to implement and to utilize computing and web-based instructional technologies in the classroom for enhanced and supportive learning.

Following visits to several government and denominational board primary schools to the west of Trinidad’s capital of Port of Spain, initial observations revealed that many of these schools possess computing devices. However, it was not a part of classroom pedagogy. Computing devices found in these schools are housed at the school’s office (for staff use only) and the library (for student use), and little to no internet connectivity. No computers or digital projectors were a part of the classroom setting. According to the Ministry of Education’s primary school syllabus, computer literacy skills, neither Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are subject areas taught at this level. (Ministry of Education of Trinidad and Tobago, 2013) These subject areas are taught at the Secondary education level from Form One and upwards. Given that computing and web-based technologies have not traditionally been used as a teaching tool at the primary level, the possibility of challenges may arise in seeking to integrate instructional technology in the classroom. This case study sought to determine these effects at one such classroom. To investigate these effects, web-based technology was implemented in the Language Arts classroom, seeking to assist students with their practice of grammar skills for writing.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Writing Instruction: That branch of literacy teaching that involves the use grammar, spelling and vocabulary, sentence structure and paragraphing in order to formulate words in a meaningful manner to create different forms of writing such as a story, poem or informational piece.

Mastery-Based Learning: Activities designed by teachers to enable students to develop their skills using the concepts and other information taught in the classroom. Mastery-based learning gives teachers a glimpse into the abilities of his or her students.

Learning Scaffold: A series of stages or levels that can be used to help a student gain needed skills. Once skills are learnt at one level, the student then moves onto the next level using the skills acquired in the last level.

Instructional Technology: Instructional technology is defined as the design and application of technological resources and processes to create, enhance, and support learning. These can be computer based (installed on the hard drive of a computer) or web-based (using an internet connection for access).

Grammar: Refers to the usage of punctuation, parts of speech, sentence structure, capitalization in the subject of Language Arts. These are also required mechanics for good writing.

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