The Exploration of Elementary School Teachers' Internet Self-Efficacy and Information Commitments: A Study in Taiwan

By Wu, Ying-Tien; Wang, Li-Jen | Educational Technology & Society, January 2015 | Go to article overview

The Exploration of Elementary School Teachers' Internet Self-Efficacy and Information Commitments: A Study in Taiwan


Wu, Ying-Tien, Wang, Li-Jen, Educational Technology & Society


Introduction

With the advancements in information and communication technologies, the integration of technology into education has received more and more attention. In recent years, Internet-based learning has been broadly advocated, and teachers often make extensive use of the Internet before or during instruction (Laxman, 2012; Moore & Chae, 2007; Tsai, 2011). However, as revealed in Childs, Sorensen, and Twidle (2011), teachers often confront some practical but harsh challenges. While they are increasingly taking advantage of the Internet before their instruction, they may not have sufficient confidence to use the Internet when preparing teaching materials and making instructional plans. Also, they may lack confidence in integrating the use of the Internet into their instruction to improve student learning outcomes. In addition, they may have problems in searching for information or resources on the Internet efficiently and making good use of them.

These practical challenges that teachers might face in Internet-based instruction should be highlighted by teacher educators. However, studies addressing the aforementioned issues have not kept pace with teachers' implementation of Internet-based instruction. In recent years, relevant research has been conducted to explore teachers' experiences (e.g., Luan et al., 2005), attitudes (e.g., Oral, 2008), views (e.g., Madden et al., 2005), and beliefs (e.g., Savasci-Acikalin, 2009) regarding the Internet or Internet-based instruction. However, relatively less research has addressed teachers' self-efficacy of exploiting the Internet, efficient use of searching strategies, and appropriate evaluation of online information and resources. As one of the initial attempts, this study was conducted to investigate a group of elementary school teachers' Internet self-efficacy and information commitments. Also, this study attempted to identify if teachers' information commitments were possible factors that affected their Internet self-efficacy.

Literature review

Teachers' Internet self-efficacy

During the last three decades, self-efficacy has received ample attention from educators and researchers, and a great number of studies related to self-efficacy were conducted (Usher & Pajares, 2008). As conceptualized by Bandura (1994), "Self-efficacy" is an individual's belief in his/her ability to successfully perform tasks of a particular domain (Bandura, 1994). In general, self-efficacy refers to how confident an individual feels about handling particular tasks, challenges, and contexts (Bandura, 1997). According to Bandura's (1986) social cognitive theory, an individual's self-efficacy belief influences his/her choice of activities, how much effort he/she will expend, and how long he/she will sustain effort in dealing with stressful situations. Pajares and Schunk (2001) advocated that, instead of being evaluated in general, research regarding self-efficacy should be assessed at a domain-specific or task-specific level because such measures may have greater validity and predictive relevance. In other words, the exploration of domain-specific or task-specific self-efficacy should be one of the important directions of further self-efficacy research.

For teacher educators, teachers' self-efficacy is always one of the main concerning issues. In conventional educational contexts, a great amount of research related to teachers' self-efficacy has been conducted, and these studies have confirmed that teachers' self-efficacy affects their teaching performance as well as students' learning outcomes (Labone, 2004). With the implementation of Internet-based instruction, teachers' Internet self-efficacy has also received more and more attention. Internet self-efficacy refers to an individual's self-perceived confidence and expectations of using the Internet to complete tasks (Wu & Tsai, 2006). Previous studies have confirmed that individuals with high efficacy expectations of using the Internet will have a greater chance of succeeding in Internetrelated tasks (e. …

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