Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Business Systems - Faculty of Education


Population modeling is an important component in educational decision support systems. This thesis describes how a problem faced by demographers in predicting school based populations can be solved by the use of a decision support system based on a model which balances micro based population values derived at school levels against more accurate nationally derived figures. The approach taken is to use an interactive human-centred computerized solution so that demographers can make full use of their local knowledge, intuition and experience. Because of the interactive nature of the model, concentration is focused on the active position of the user. To achieve this the cultural-historical tradition in psychology and activity theory were used as a basis for the approach and involved the concepts of mediation of activity with a tool, exteriorization materialisation and goal formation.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.