The artful struggle for the integration of computers in schools
Walz, Loretta Jean
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Studies over the last ten years suggest computers are not being used to their full potential inside schools (Abrami et al., 2006; Smeets, 2005; Suronta & Lehtimaki, 2004). Findings often recommend some combination of professional development, increased technical support, and the development and acquisition of user-friendly software to remedy the situation. While any one of these options may help in the short term, this thesis argues that, even in combination, none of these solutions get to the root of education’s problem with integrating new technology. Policy purports that simply inserting a computer into a classroom will open up new possibilities for learning, however in order to successfully integrate new technology in a way that is beneficial for both students and the teacher, what is needed is an approach to learning that will foster a creative and engaged learning environment. Using a phenomenological perspective that draws from my experience helping teachers implement computer technology and my artistic practice, this thesis will explore what began as a hunch, that there might be something to an artist’s approach that makes using technology more navigable. This approach, which is transferable to other environments, can foster meaningful learning. By developing a manner of approach that is by nature creative and leads to an unfolding process for learning, rather than programming for desired outcomes. This thesis draws broadly from four sources: Christopher Alexander’s The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and The Nature of the Universe, Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, and my memories from my Introduction to Painting class in art school.