Year: 1992

Author: Sachs, Judyth, Logan, Lloyd

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The use of information technology in classrooms at all educational levels is having a significant effect on both the form and content as well as the modes of delivery of educational programs. Today, the hardware of IT is so developed, and the achieved or potential computer literacy of students is of such a standard, that the major constraints on the degree of student control over learning are administrative and ideological rather than technological or personal. The Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP) is an example of an initiative to deliver tertiary education to aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students in remote areas using information technology. In other papers we have reported on various elements of the RATEP initiative (Logan and Sachs, 1991, 1992a, 1992b, Sachs and Logan, 1991). In this paper we are concerned with examining the software materials developed by course writers at Cairns TAFE. We take as our point of departure Linn's (1991:230) assertion 'Like other curriculum materials - like any other teaching technique or technology - micro computers embody particular pedagogic assumptions about the subject area, about learning and about classroom relations'. Our argument is in two parts. First, we argue that assumptions held by course writers and programmers regarding what constitutes appropriate knowledge and how that knowledge is presented control and set the limits of possibility of the software. This in turn predisposes the development and transmission of a particular kind of pedagogy. Second, we argue that this pedagogy is embedded in a more comprehensive regulative discourse that sets the thinkable and the doable and is situated within a discourse of practicality. The concepts of knowledge and pedagogy are used to structure the development of our argument in this paper.