Date of Award

5-1-1986

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

School

School of Education

Degree Name

Ed.D.

Abstract

RATIONALE The purpose of the study was to survey the use of microcomputers as instructional assisted tools in the education of mildly handicapped students from selected school systems of Georgia. Specifically, the study addressed the following issues: (1) identified instructional uses of microcomputers in special education; (2) areas of exceptionality wherein instructional micro computer usage is evidenced; (3) perceptions of special educators toward microcomputer applications; and (4) future implications.

SIGNIFICANCE The study will greatly expand the literature base and identify factors related to the use of microcomputers in the instructional process of educating mildly handicapped students.

METHODS AND PROCEDURES Data for the study were generated from Directors of Special Education and Teachers of Mildly Handicapped Students from selected public school sys tems of Georgia. The chief data collection method used was the questionnaire with the interview/participant observation technique being secondary. The question naire used was a modified version of the instrument developed in 1982 by Henry Jay Becker to obtain data for his study, "School Uses of Microcom puters." Items for the revised instrument addressed demographic, usage and perception information.

Both descriptive and inferential statistical procedures were used to analyze the data. Sections I and II of the questionnaire stimulated cate gorical data which produced percentages. The Chi-square statistical method at the .05 level was used to determine the statistically significant dif ference of the nominal data and to test one hypothesis. The Analysis of Variance statistical method was used at the .05 level to accept or reject five of the hypotheses.

The secondary method of data collection involved the interview/partici pant observation methods. Items for the interview questions and the observa tion checklist were original. Sites for the field research were randomly selected to include visitations to the three different size school systems based on student population. Data for this phase of the study were reported in case studies.

RESULTS The findings from the study reveal from a broad perspective that Direc tors of Special Education and Teachers of Mildly Handicapped Students demon strated great support of microcomputer usage in the instruction of mildly handicapped students. Special educators found the most productive use of this strategy in drill and practice and tutorial dialog activities. The area of mathematics was considered strongest with language arts being second rela tive to fundamental instructional use. Most computer time was scheduled during class periods.

Strengths in the instructional applications included individualization, alternative approaches to learning, provisions for immediate feedback, flexi bility in management, increased student/teacher contact, student motivation, and increased student attention span. Problemmatic concerns include: limited and incompatible software, inadequate inservice, student/computer ratios and human interaction.

The .05 confidence level was used to determine statistical significance. The null hypotheses formulated and tested on the variable groups were accepted at the .05 level.

CONCLUSIONS Special education administrators (directors/coordinators) and teachers of mildly handicapped students strongly support the use of microcomputers as instructional assisted tools in the education of mildly handicapped students. Increasing use and versatility are evidenced; however, expanded efforts are needed for budgetary support, staff development, time management and sched uling. As improvements are made based on continued research the use of this technology will continue to enhance the educational opportunities of handi capped students.

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