ERIC Number: ED263909
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-May
Reference Count: N/A
Commanding the Computer: Functions and Concepts of Videotex Technology for Eighth-Grade Students.
Eastman, Susan T.; Agostino, Donald E.
This study combines quantitative and ethnographic methods to analyze middle-school students' uses and understandings of microcomputers and videotex. As an experiment in teaching library research skills, 27 eighth graders were assigned to search an online encyclopedia in preparation for writing a science theme. The students' operational practices and associated conceptual understandings were interpreted as a multimodal case study of videotex use. Analysis of data from hard copies of the students' disk records (an unobtrusive measure), participant observation during naturalistic computer use, and a direct, hands-on test of computer competence at the project's end supported five tentative conclusions; the students typically: (1) mastered only the simplest videotex commands without improving their rate of error over time; (2) had difficulty understanding the concepts and vocabulary, but not the structure of electronic menus; (3) accessed only a small quantity of electronic text compared to available printed materials; (4) exhibited the ability to search by keyword but found the videotex service inadequately cross-referenced; and (5) required constant adult assistance to log on to the videotex service, to learn command operations, and to store text on disk files. The study indicated that, as of 1984, commercial electronic text services lacked internal motivations to achieve operational efficiency and were unsuited to the educational objective of learning the cognitive skills of information processing. (Author/JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A