Computer-Intensive School Environments and the Reorganization of Knowledge and Learning: A Qualitative Assessment of Apple Computer's Classroom of Tomorrow
The Apple Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT) project is an attempt to alter the instructional premises of a selected group of seven experimental classrooms in the United States by saturating them with computer technology. A recent proposal submitted to Apple Computer described STAR (Sensible Technology Assessment/Research), which includes both quantitative and qualitative indicators of change, and its implementation in the evaluation of ACOT. A focus for the qualitative engagement with the ACOT phenomenon is spelled out in this paper that is primarily interpretive in nature and theory-driven. While the "transactional" approach to evaluating cognitive development and learning can be used in this context, the research and evaluation efforts would be ordered around a different set of questions than are traditionally asked. ACOT classrooms will produce different kinds of conversations and different kinds of child-to-child interactions and computer-based problem-solving tasks. In addition, one can also observe in ACOT classrooms the complex ways in which the computer has become integrated into the lives of the students beyond the classroom. Thus, more will need to be learned about the social organization of computer-based skills and knowledge in the home, and how this supports (or detracts from) its organization in the school. Finally, there may be important teacher differences brought about by the introduction of computers into the classroom, and issues which will need to be explored include teacher morale, curriculum innovation, and student learning. Such qualitative research will be used to answer a limited set of questions about the social organization and distributed learning in the ACOT environment, and will produce research results which, though of a qualitative nature, will have independent value. (11 references) (EW)
Levine, H.G. Computer-Intensive School Environments and the Reorganization of Knowledge and Learning: A Qualitative Assessment of Apple Computer's Classroom of Tomorrow.