An Investigation into Attitudes towards Computers and Biological Problem Solving among Scottish Secondary School Pupils

Burr, Susan Margaret (1990) An Investigation into Attitudes towards Computers and Biological Problem Solving among Scottish Secondary School Pupils. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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A survey of the relevant literature was carried out. This covered a large number of topics relating to the different areas covered by this work: computer use in schools, attitudes of girls and boys to computers, pupil attitudes in general, problem solving skills, areas of difficulty in Biology, perception and memory. The role of the computer in the classroom was investigated. Pupil attitudes to the microcomputer and its use in the classroom were investigated using a questionnaire. The areas investigated were: general expectation of use, mode of use within the classroom, links with other subjects and the world outside, expectations of boys and girls. The survey was also linked to questions about the use of home computers. The attitude survey made use of two different measurement techniques (Likert and Semantic - Differential). Pupil attitudes were measured at the beginning of first and third year secondary schooling. The same pupils were questioned a year later at the beginning of second and fourth year respectively. Concurrently with the attitude survey, an investigation of an area of difficulty within the Biology syllabus was carried out. The area chosen was that of the construction of biological keys. The aim of this part of the work was to make a computer program to improve the learning of this topic. As a result of the design exercise necessary to construct the computer program, further work on the analysis of key making skills was carried out. Analysis of the skills needed to make a biological key showed that these skills were divided into two main areas. The choosing of the correct biological features and the mechanics of key construction. Initially, each of these areas was investigated separately. Hypotheses concerning these skills and the influence of the psychological factors of working memory and ability to disembed were formulated. The key making skills were tested using written material developed during the course of the work. The psychological factors were investigated using standard tests. All three tests were completed by two hundred and eighty five third year biology pupils from a range of schools in the West of Scotland. Both the attitude questionnaire and the key-making test material were developed through a series of pilot studies. The data collected was analysed and underwent statistical analysis. Relevant conclusions were drawn. Finally, conclusions drawn from the results have been summarised, recommendations made and further work suggested.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Educational technology, Science education
Date of Award: 1990
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1990-78088
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 15:41
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 15:41

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