Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Is It "Writing on Water" or "Strike It Rich?" the Experiences of Prospective Teachers in Using Search Engines

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Is It "Writing on Water" or "Strike It Rich?" the Experiences of Prospective Teachers in Using Search Engines

Article excerpt


Information searching skills have become increasingly important for prospective teachers with the exponential growth of learning materials on the web. This study is an attempt to understand the experiences of prospective teachers with search engines through metaphoric images and to further investigate whether their experiences are related to the variables of years spent in the program and years of experience with computers. Participants were comprised of 335 prospective classroom teachers registered at Pamukkale University, Faculty of Education, Primary School Teaching Program (1-5) in the Department of Elementary Education. In this descriptive study, data were collected through asking participants to produce a metaphor with reasoning that demonstrates their experiences with search engines. Gathered data were analyzed by using the techniques of content, frequency, and percentage analyses. Upon this procedure, themes were emerged. Chi-square test was used to identify whether participants' experiences relate to their years of computer experience and years spent in the program. Findings drew attention to the categories of provisions, opportunities, and problems in searching for information and demonstrated the dominance of problems with respect to other themes. Participants' experiences were not related to their experiences with computers but were related to their years in the program. Findings revealed a need to off er learning experiences to enhance prospective classroom teachers' searching skills.

Key Words

Accessing Information, Teacher Education, Search Engines, Metaphor.

As the internet usage has become widespread, students frequently use the internet in order to meet their needs of information (Bakay, 2005; Ersoy, & Türkkan, 2009; Kennedy, Judd, Churchward, Gray, & Krause, 2008; Oliver, & Goerke, 2007) and they prefer the internet over the printed and other alternatives sources of information (sahin, Çermik, & Dogan, 2009a; Yalçinalp, & Askar, 2003). Although research generally indicates that the internet users have high self-perception of information search (Albion, 2007; Usluel, 2006), it is known that many users experience problems in eff ective use of the search engines (Albion, 2007; Colaric, Fine, & Hofmann, 2004; Graham, & Metaxas, 2003; Huerta, & Sandoval-Almazán, 2007).

A new study points out that prospective teachers face issues related to (i) self, (ii) medium, and (iii) content during their search engine use (sahin, Dogan, & Çermik, 2009b). In another study (Colaric et al., 2004), it was suggested that 36 percent of prospective teachers were devoid of knowledge about the eff ective use of search engines and that many of the participants were unaware of the search engine commands to restrict the search results. Other studies revealed that the courses off ered on the usage of the internet technologies at teacher education programs were found to be insufficient or partially sufficient (Karahan, & izci, 2001). Prospective teachers request courses in order to learn eff ective use of search engines (Aldemir, 2004). Considering the findings from the previous research demonstrating that students prefer the internet to the library and other information sources for their homework and projects (Akdag, & Karahan, 2004; Akkoyunlu, & Yilmaz, 2005; Kurbanoglu, 2002; Oliver, & Goerke, 2007; sahin et al., 2009a), it could be said that an investigation of prospective teachers' experiences of search engine use is a worthwhile pursuit. Analyzing the metaphors reflecting the user experiences with search engines may provide important contributions to teacher education process.

A metaphor means learning any subject by another subject or turning it into an experience (Lakoff , & Johnson, 1980). Metaphors give an opportunity to compare, to draw attention to the similarities between two things, and to explain something by putting it into the place of another (Saban, Koçbeker, & Saban, 2006). …

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