Academic journal article College Student Journal

Perceptions of Career and Technology and Training and Development Students regarding Basic Personal Computer Knowledge and Skills

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Perceptions of Career and Technology and Training and Development Students regarding Basic Personal Computer Knowledge and Skills

Article excerpt

A sample of 58 students in career and technology teacher education and training and development was surveyed to determine self-perception as to their competency in five constructs containing 43 elements related to personal computer knowledge and skills. In an analysis of all computer knowledge and skill elements combined, there was no statistically significant difference based on gender. A statistically significant difference between the perceived competences of the participants was found based on age range with students 35 years old or younger perceiving a higher level of competence as compared to those 36 years old or older. Further analysis within constructs revealed that there were instances of statistically significant differences found based on gender and age range.

INTRODUCTION

Programs for the preparation of career and technology teachers and business/industry trainers and developers are dependent on the integration of technology into the curriculum as a tool to enhance and raise the level of learning. Without question, the most used tool of integration is the personal computer and its complementary software and peripherals. Dugger, Meade, Delany, and Nichols (2003) contend that every aspect of our lives is affected by technology and that students need the opportunity to attain technological literacy in core subject areas. The integration of technology into the curriculum requirement for the certification of career and technology teachers, trainers, and developers has created a need to identify and assess the personal computer competencies of students in these areas of instruction. The purpose of this study was to identify and develop a method of measurement that students' will be able to use to assess self-perception regarding personal computer knowledge and skills and determine if differences in self-perceptions exist based on gender and age.

The first question for this study was which personal computer knowledge and skills enhance student success in career and technology teacher certification or degree programs in training and development. A search of the literature revealed no studies that addressed specific personal computer knowledge and skills for students in career and technology teacher preparation or training and development programs. Related studies were used as a reference to address the first question of the study. A team comprised of the investigators and faculty members in a Center for Career and Technology Education reviewed the curriculum to determine the personal computer knowledge and skill competencies necessary for successful completion of each of the courses in career and technology teacher education certification programs and a degree program in training and development.

The knowledge and skills review process identified five constructs for inclusion in the study. Sources such as, Using Technology in the Classroom (Bitter & Pierson, 2005), Integrating Computer Technology into the Classroom (2004), Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (2003), TechTactics (Thorsen, 2003), The Technology Facade (2002), and The ASTD Training and Development Handbook (Warfel, 1996, chap. 40) provided support for development of the five constructs and their respective knowledge and skills elements. The five identified constructs are basic computer operation, electronic communication, word processing and spreadsheet, presentation software, and information retrieval and research. Basic computer operation relates to the general operation of the computer and working within the user interface and operating system installed on the computer. Electronic communication, in terms of personal computer usage, involves those applications and media facilitating interaction and collaboration between parties or the provision of information for public availability. Word processing and spreadsheet applications are utilized for storing, organizing, and processing text and data. Further, these applications provide a widely compatible format promoting the standardization of vehicles for information exchange. …

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