University of KwaZulu-Natal (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 11594-11600
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.2425
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced education worldwide to seek alternatives to the traditional face-to-face mode of instruction. As a result, online teaching and learning has been adopted by teachers and learners since lockdowns commenced. The objectives of this study were to identify the digital capital that existed amongst the selected group of learners during the COVID-19 pandemic; and understand learner perceptions of the shift to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study was largely quantitative in nature, but incorporated open-ended questions to allow qualitative data to be collected to better understand the perceptions and experiences of learners and to further probe responses. An online questionnaire was designed as a Google Form to suit the study objectives. The questionnaire was distributed electronically through email to individual students who indicated consent to the SAMF, after complying with all ethical clearance requirements, and adhering to defined COVID-19 protocols. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Majority of the participants were male learners in grades 8 to 100 from public schools, with the largest participation from the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal regions. The large majority of learners resided at a family home in urban areas with regular electricity supply during the lockdown period, thus they had access to technology, a conducive environment to study, and supportive infrastructure to support their online learning. A large majority of the learners possessed advanced digital and network literacy skills, while there was an even split between the intermediate and advanced literacy levels of the selected online teaching tool, Zoom. This study revealed that this group of learners possessed the required digital capital, infrastructure and learning environment to support their online learning. While their perceptions of online learning was generally positive, there was no statistical evidence that online learning was useful, nor that online learning was preferred.
Online Learning, Virtual Classroom, Maths Education, COVID-19, Student Perceptions, Maths Olympiad.