Record: Norlidah Alias, Mohd. Nazri Abdul Rahman, Siraj Saedah, and Ruslina Ibrahim, “A Model of Homeschooling Based on Technology in Malaysia” in The Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Technology 1, no. 3 (July 2013): 10-16 [Available Here]
Summary: The authors begin with a helpful overview of recent developments in Malaysian education policy. In 2003 the Free and Compulsory Education Act was passed, which compels children age 6 and over to attend a school but allows parental choice for private or home-based learning.
Since that time a small but growing “homeschooling” trend has been documented, and research is being conducted on the families choosing this option. This research has found that Malaysian homeschooling families are motivated by religious values and by concerns about the public schools’ academic and social inadequacies.
The authors then explain Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM), the approach they will be using in this article. Basically, ISM allows the researchers to graph out the relationships between things. In this case the authors are using it to uncover how homeschooling families are using technology.
They began by building a team of experts that included 5 homeschooling parents, a child development specialist, a curriculum expert, and an education policy expert. All 8 of these people brainstormed together to come up with 20 elements that influence learning and teaching at home. These 20 were then reduced to 12 and then rank ordered until a final cut of 7 was reached. They are the following, in order: social websites (like facebook and twitter), online materials (like wikis and blogs), the use of technology for research (like using webquest), mobile learning (distance learning), interactive video games, web portals (that compile and sort data from other sites), and digital stories (using software to create films, animations, etc.).
After summarizing and mapping these seven domains the authors conclude that homeschoolers are very technologically active.
Appraisal: This was a very weak article. No discussion was offered for how or why they chose the five homeschoolers they did. Are they typical of Malaysian homeschooling? The discussion furthermore never went beyond generalities. Homeschoolers use the internet. That’s basically what this article says. The one thing I did learn from this article is that the authority on Malaysian homeschooling seems to be John A. Ebinezar, whose 2008 PhD dissertation “The Malaysian Experience in Home Schooling” was heavily relied upon by these authors for the little they had to say about the broader homeschooling situation in Malaysia. Ebinezar’s dissertation is evidently a qualitative study based on five homeschooling families in Malaysia. Were they the same five used by these researchers?
Milton Gaither, Messiah College