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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Investigating how Teachers Use Computers to Mediate Learning in Underprivileged Grade 6 Mathematics Classrooms in the Western Cape, South Africa

Joanne Hardman.

South Africa currently faces an educational crisis due in large part to Apartheid's legacy of oppressive education, which has produced a generation of teachers who are not sufficiently well prepared to teach subjects such as mathematics and science. Compounding the problem of re-educating underprepared teachers is the fact that there is currently a shortage of math and science teachers in the country. In a bid to address the educational crisis facing the Western Cape, the government has a established a project to improve education in previously disadvantaged Western Cape schools using technology. While a large body of knowledge exists regarding the impact of computers on learning in developed countries, there is currently a dearth of research regarding how teachers in developing countries use computers to mediate learning. This paper reports preliminary findings regarding how teachers use computers as cognitive tools to mediate mathematics concepts in underprivileged grade 6 classrooms in three rural and three urban schools in the Western Cap


Joanne Hardman  (South Africa)
Lecturer in Educational Psychology
Education Department
University of Cape Town

Joanne Hardman currently lectures Educational Psychology in the Education Department at UCT where she is also pursuing her PhD studies.
After graduating with her Master's degree in Psychology from the University of Natal, Durban in 2000, Joanne worked as a project facilitator for the government funded Crime Reduction in Schools Project (CRISP) and as a principal tutor for the first year Psychology course. While she spent time doing trauma debriefing within the schools, her work on the CRISP project focused primarily on developing educational materials to meet the challenges of academic underachievement in the project schools. Her work on the Psychology programme focused on tutor training and supervision and developing workshops and tutorials for 1st year students. Her areas of interest include learning and cognition; issues relating to cognitive preparedness for university studies; cognition and technology and the creation of technological 'spaces' for mediating engagement with academia.

  • Computer Mediated Learning
  • Primary School
  • Case Study
  • Mathematics
  • Cognitive Tools
  • Learning

(30 min Conference Paper, English)