Opinions of Prospective Social Studies Teachers on the Use of Information Technologies in Teaching Geographical Subjects

Article excerpt

Use of information technologies in the field of geography, one of the important disciplines that comprise the social studies course, contributes to rendering abstract phenomena and concepts concrete in terms of primary education students, thereby increases their interest in social studies. In this context, the basic purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of information technologies in teaching geographical subjects within the scope of the social studies course. The semi-structured interview technique from among the qualitative research approaches was used, and additionally a content analysis was conducted in the study. The data were collected through interviews with 20 prospective teachers, who studied at the Social Studies Teaching Program in the 2006-2007 academic year, on voluntary basis. Numerical analysis and descriptive analysis techniques were used in the analysis of the research data. According to the results obtained, prospective teachers were acquainted with the computers, the Internet and projectors the most from among the information technologies, and think that these technologies were utilized at schools and teacher training programs. Furthermore, the prospective teachers, who consider that biggest reason for inadequate use of the information technologies is the lack of sufficient equipment, regard these technologies as important particularly in terms of visuality and they recommend that the existing equipment be increased and the courses intended for information technologies be intensified.

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Since its existence, mankind has perpetually produced and distributed information and used this information for its own needs. All methods such as carrier pigeons, the Morse code and smoke used for distribution of information in the past are the examples of information technologies. Today, these have been replaced by such devices as computers, satellite antennas, pagers, and mobile phones. The most basic difference between old and new technology is the speed in the distribution of information. The high speed that the new technologies provide increased the amount of in formation. All these changes have been achieved as a result of the growth in microelectronic technologies, and electronic devices replaced the mechanical ones in accessing and using information (Makitya and Hind, 1992; Karahan, 2001).

With this change, the world gradually transforms into a digital form. This transformation also affects the education system as well as all other systems, and this situation becomes a must. Use of information technologies particularly in education has resulted in re-questioning and redefinition of the educational objectives, methods, and techniques, as well as of the equipment used. Computers that are primarily used in administrative services at schools have gone beyond their limits and strongly secure their place among other educational materials and equipment in classrooms (Lankshear, Snyder, 2000). Until recently, the understanding of educational technology brought to mind the equipment such as radios, televisions, filmstrips, overhead projectors, cassette players and video players. However, the conception of educational technology has changed rapidly in the last 10-20 years and begun to be used to mean technologies based largely on computers, e.g. CD-ROMs, Interactive audio, interactive video discs, local area networks, hypermedia and telecommunication (Ozturk and Inan, 1998).

Information technology can be defined as creating, collecting, accumulating, processing, retrieving, distributing, preserving information, and the means assisting them (Karahan, 2001). The information technologies are called the "teaching technologies" in education. The widespread use of information technology has caused the societies to transform into "information society" today. New technologies have affected both the economic structure and social and educational structure, and therefore societies are forced to follow technological advancements (Akkoyunlu, 1998). …