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Implementation issues in the introduction of computers into the Iranian education system

by Zamani, Bibi Eshrat

Abstract (Summary)
This study investigated the introduction of computers into the Iranian educational systern, the rationale for introducing the Computer Studies course, and most importantly. the implementation process. The first main focus of the study was to identify the factors and conditions that were important in the computer implementation process. The second focus was to examine how these factors relate to modeis of implementation of innovation, particularly to Fullan's model which was used as the theoretical framework, and to examine the strengths and weaknesse; of his model as applied to the situation of Iran and other developing countries. Participants were sarnples of different groups invoived in the innovation, namely policy makers. principals, teachers, computer lab managers, students and parents. The data collected consisted of questionnaires, semi-stmctured interviews, policy documents and on-site observations in Iranian high schools in Isfahan (one of the largest Iranian cities). The high rate of questionnaire retums and interview participation demonstrated the participants' interest in cooperating to improve the computer education in Iranian high schools. The results of the study confirm that the identified implementation issues in using computers in Iranian schools acre similar to those in other developing countries. e-g., lack of hardware. software and maintenance, lack of trained people, lack of clarity about the objectives, motivational problems, gender inequity in relation to using cornputers, and the programrning language used as well as the little educational software that was available was in English and culturally inappropriate. The findings also indicated that certain characteristics of the Iranian situation that strongly influenced the implementation process are not emphasized, or overlooked in the theoretical assurnptions of the more common models of implementation derived from expenence in western industrialized countries. On the basis of these findings, the researcher offered suggestions both for additional elements to be considered in fomulating theones of implementation for developing countries and for measures to be taken by national authorities such as those in Iran for coping with technological change in schools. The study was innovative in that it examined the role of situational factors. in particular factors of traditional societies in transition: socio-economic, socio-cultural factors and political stability, in the irnplementation of technological change. The data provided substantial evidence for the importance of sociocultural and socio-economic factors in the implernentation of the Cornputer Studies course. However, political stability was not dealt with in-depth and needs more research. Any implernentation modei should take into consideration the role of situational factors in a given society.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1997

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