Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Computer Technology Awareness by Elementary School Teachers: A Case Study from Turkey

Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Computer Technology Awareness by Elementary School Teachers: A Case Study from Turkey

Article excerpt

Introduction

The use of computers in education opens a new area of knowledge and offers a tool that has the potential to change some of the existing educational methods. The teacher is the key to the effective exploitation of this resource in the educational system. As computer use continues to increase in society, educators must also prepare for the use of computers within the classroom. This involves all levels of education, including elementary schools (McCannon & Crews, 2000). The role of the elementary school teacher is evolving from that of a giver of information to that of a facilitator of student learning. New technologies already exist to help teachers complete that evolution (Downs, Clark & Bennett, 1995).

Beginning in 1982, the Turkish Government introduced a series of funding initiatives to promote the use of information technology in schools. Applying information technology to effective learning and teaching is the key point in the current Turkish education policy. Positive teacher attitudes toward computers and computing skills are recognized by researchers as a necessary component for effective use of computer technology in the classroom. Hizal (1989) indicated that the process of planning for technology use should consider the teacher's beliefs and knowledge about technology. This affects the decisions they make about strategies, procedures and materials for instruction. Kulahci and Gurol (1991) compared teachers in a computer course with a control group of teachers who had not and found that teachers who had taken the computer course had lower anxiety scores and higher self perceived ability than those who had not. Akkoyunlu (1996) reported that increased computer experience diminishes computer anxiety. Confidence with computers can be attributed to familiarity and computer knowledge. Lack of computer knowledge results in high anxiety and negative attitudes. It has been shown that attitudes toward computing can be improved significantly with training.

In research about the perceptions of instructional materials, classroom teachers generally demonstrated little knowledge of the technologies (Odabasi & Namlu, 1997). According to a study conducted by Orhun (2000) at secondary schools in Izmir, Turkey, the extent of the implementation of Information Technology innovation in secondary schools in Izmir was rather limited three years after its initiation. The majority of computer use was in actual computer classes, and this mostly took place in vocational schools. Teachers' lack of knowledge and skill about using computers for instructional purposes was the problem encountered the most in implementing computer use in teaching. Lack of software, insufficient training opportunities, insufficient expertise, guidance and help for instructional use, insufficient technical assistance, and insufficient number of computers available were other important problems. Askar and Umay (2001) investigated the computer self-efficiency of freshman, sophomores and juniors in the division of Elementary Mathematics Teaching, and their results showed that the perceived computer self-efficiency was low in relation to access and computer experience. Cagiltay, Cakiroglu and others (2001) examined how the teachers use computers in education - if any- and how they perceive the use of computers in education in Turkey. Their results indicated that most of the subjects held the view that the use of computer technology in schools is beneficial for the teaching-learning process. Recently conducted studies by the present author also address some of the issues related to computer education in Turkey (Asan, 2002, 2003).

Computer technology has become a fundamental part of education in Turkey and will likely be more so in the future. Unfortunately, Information Technology innovation initiatives in Turkey are still characterized by a lack of research into possible options for policies and strategies. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.