Pupils' attitude toward technology-Botswana

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Virginia Tech


Pupils’ Attitude Toward Technology (PATT) research began in Botswana in 1993. The research was designed to study pupils attitudes toward technology through the use of an instrument that has shown to be effective in measuring affective/behavior and cognitive attitude dimensions. The instrument used was an (English) adaptation of one created at the University of Technology Eindhoven, The Netherlands, by Drs. Jan Raat and Marc de Vries in 1984. Since that time, versions of the Dutch instrument have been used to assess the pupils' attitude toward technology in over 20 countries worldwide.

One of the aims of this ex post facto study was to produce a descriptive profile of the student population based on a sample of 800 Form 5 pupils. The model employed a comparative framework controlling for differences in demographic characteristics that included GENDER, LEVEL OF TECHNOLOGICAL STUDY, and URBAN/RURAL BACKGROUND. The identification of these variables was seen as important in terms of their social significance within a changing traditional culture. Interest in comparing the findings from male and female students living in diverse rural traditional and modern urban environments, was the rationale for the investigation. Another aim was to compare responses from pupils with a technological background in school to pupils with no prior technology course work. Another aspect of the research was to encourage opportunities to share the findings in cross-cultural comparisons with research in other African countries.

The Botswana instrument was modified from a study conducted in the USA (Bame, de Vries, and Dugger) and re-designed for Form 5 pupils (ages 16-21). The modified instrument was field tested during October-November, 1993, with 800 pupils in eight schools (four rural, four urban) across the nation.

The instrument contains four basic parts. The first part asks pupils for a short description of what the student thinks technology is. The second part consists of 14 questions to gather demographic data about the respondents, and a survey of the technical subjects a pupil may have studied. In the third part, 58 statements were included to assess the respondent's attitude toward technology. In the fourth part, 31 items assess the pupils' concept of technology.

The findings revealed that gender was a factor that affected students' attitude toward technology, as was the level of technology pupils studied in school. To a lesser extent, but still an important factor, the urban/rural backgrounds of pupils was found to combine with other variables, and thus contribute toward pupils’ attitudes and concepts of technology. The findings also showed that in general, a positive correlation was determined to exist between pupils' concept of technology and their attitudes toward it. However this relationship, while observed significant, was in magnitude, not notably strong.

The contributions of PATT Research in Botswana offer both educators and program planners an instrument to assess the needs of particular pupil populations. Government and local planners need a means of monitoring formal educational efforts. As a curriculum development tool, the design offers a responsive solution to the needs of assessment and evaluation.