The purpose of this study was to investigate the current state of instructional material selections in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools’ information technology (IT) education, as well as IT teachers’ opinions about material selections in IT education. The survey method was employed to collect data, and the instrument was a self-developed questionnaire named “the current state of instructional material selections in IT education and the factors influencing its selection in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools”. Copies of the questionnaire were sent to Tao-yuan''s elementary schools in January, 2009. As a result, there were 130 valid copies returned from schools and 313 from IT teachers. The return rates were 77.8% and 78.1% respectively. These data were then analyzed by the use of frequency distribution, percentage, chi-square test, and one-way ANOVA.
The major findings were as follows:
1. Most Tao-yuan''s elementary schools implemented IT education in one of the alternative learning periods per week.
2. Tao-yuan''s elementary schools’ IT education in grades 3 and 4 was roughly in compliance with the Grade 1-9 Curriculum Guidelines; while there exited a slight discrepancy in grades 5 and 6.
3. Most Tao-yuan''s elementary schools selected publishers’ textbooks as instructional materials for IT education instead of producing their own.
4. Most IT teachers in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools were young males graduated from Teachers Colleges, and most of them enthusiastically participated in training programs to improve their professional expertise.
5. The main reason for using self-developed IT materials in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools was that the content of publishers’ textbooks failed to meet teachers’ needs; whereas the difficulties of developing IT materials by school teachers were insufficiency of time and expertise.
6. The self-developed materials for IT education in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools were seldom submitted to the school’s curriculum development committee for review and approval, and these materials were often provided free of charge.
7. The main reasons for using publishers’ IT textbooks in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools included the textbooks’ needs-met content, abundant learning resources and insufficiency of teachers’ materials developing abilities.
8. The persons who took the responsibility of selecting publishers’ IT textbooks in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools were mainly IT teachers, who also played the leading role in the process of selection.
9. The IT textbooks selected in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools mainly focused on commercial software, whereas the use rate of open source software was about 40%.
10. Most of the General Affairs Offices in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools were responsible for the bid and purchase of IT textbooks, and many teachers expressed that just like other textbooks, the bid for IT textbooks should be handled nationwide by the government.
11. Most IT teachers in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools proposed to have IT textbooks reviewed and approved prior to selection, and the main reason was to maintain the quality of instruction to a certain level.
12. As for schools, the school size and the IT education content were the two major factors influencing IT material selection in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools; and as for IT teachers, the teacher’s expertise in information technology and the work load he or she had, as well as the quality of textbooks and the approval and bidding systems of textbooks were all major influencing factors. .
13. Overall, most IT teachers in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools stated “mostly satisfied” with publishers’ IT textbooks, with the “arrangement of instructional content” receiving the highest satisfaction.
14. The least satisfaction regarding IT textbooks in Tao-yuan''s elementary schools was with “supplementary instructional resources” and to deal with that problem, instructional content was then designed by teachers themselves for improvement, and this dissatisfaction further influenced the decision making of continual usage of such textbooks.
Based on the findings of this study, relevant suggestions are provided for educational authorities, elementary schools, IT teachers, publishers, and future study.