Current Trends in Educational Technology Research in Turkey in the New Millennium

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study examined 259 master's theses in the field of educational technology completed in Turkey during 2000-2007. The results suggested that quantity and quality of educational technology research varied according to years and universities. A great majority of the theses employed quantitative paradigm, and qualitative studies made about one fourth of the total studies. Approximately 80 % of the theses were based on descriptive models using questionnaires, tests, and scales as data gathering instruments. The samples included university students in three out of every four theses. A significant majority of the theses employed descriptive statistical techniques and only a limited number of experimental theses conducted inferential statistical analyses. The most frequently investigated topics were computer-assisted instruction, alternative teaching and learning approaches, web-based learning, difficulties in integrating information technologies into educational practice, Internet-based learning, and distance education.

Key Words

Educational Technology Research, Evaluation of Theses, Master Theses of Educational Technology.

Over the decades, the definition of educational technology has been changed. It is not constrained to "the use of audio-visual media in education" anymore. In the new millennium, the concept of educational technology covers issues from human-technology interaction to performance technologies and from computer-assisted instruction to virtual learning environments. Alkan (1997) contends that educational technology refers to operationalizing scientific knowledge produced in educational sciences by converting them into more effective teaching and learning practices.

An accurate understanding of the concept of educational technology is possible partly through grasping the radical changes in theory and practice of the field. Because research conducted over the years directly reflects those changes, the best possible way may be to analyze the existing educational technology research in details. For this purpose, a number of reviews on existing research have been conducted in different countries.

Costa (2007) reviewed 226 master's theses completed in five universities in Portugal since 1986. He found that most of the theses were completed during 2001-2005. Topics usually involved integrating information and communication technologies in educational practices. The samples of the theses generally consisted of instructional materials. Most theses employed qualitative paradigm and data were gathered through observations and interviews.

Caffarella (1999; 2007) conducted two separate reviews about doctoral dissertations on educational technology in the United States and analyzed how research topics as well as issues have changed during 1977- 2006. He found that the interest on media comparison studies deceased and the number of experimental studies went down, while studies on various applications of computer-based instruction and instructional design have increased.

Altin (2004) reviewed 397 master's theses on curriculum and instruction completed in three big universities in Turkey during 1985-2002. Although not all studies in this review were related to educational technology, the results demonstrated that research topics ranged from technological matters to teacher competencies. However, a great majority of the theses were conducted with students in public schools and employed survey methods.

Simsek and associates (2008) conducted a comprehensive analysis on doctoral dissertations in the field of educational technology in Turkey. They reviewed a total of 64 doctoral dissertations completed in five major universities during the last decade. They found that experimental studies conducted in formal education settings dominated the field; data were gathered through questionnaires, tests, and scales; popular research topics were computer-based learning, instructional design, and alternative approaches to teaching and learning. …