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Sempozyum: 6th Internatıonal Computer and Instructıonal Technologies Symposium
What Are The Basic Difficulties and Challenges For Fourth Graders Throughout The Internet Search?
Emine ŞENDURUR
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Sempozyum: 6th Internatıonal Computer and Instructıonal Technologies Symposium
What Are The Basic Difficulties and Challenges For Fourth Graders Throughout The Internet Search?
Emine ŞENDURUR
Abstract :

Internet search has become one of the main tasks of students of any grade level because hard resources replaced with the soft ones which brought about the high density of available information. Especially project assignments and homework require students to search the web (Kuiper, Volman, & Terwel, 2005). In order to manage such huge amount of resources, a set of skills might be needed (Howland, Jonasses, & Marra, 2012). Although teachers’ expectations remain high, the outputs might not always be as high as expected. The low quality projects or homework might be attributed to various reasons ranging from accessibility of technology to motivation which was found significant in Thompson, Meriac, and Cope’s (2002) study. This study aimed to discover the ways fourth graders search and to find out the most frequent diff iculties and challenges they face during the web search.
12 volunteer four grade students from a public elementary school in Ankara participated to the study. In this case study, this group of fourth graders was observed during four Internet search sessions.

Each session included one task. The first two topics to be searched were very general but the last two topics were not familiar to this grade level. 12 students used the PCs in the computer laboratory in school. They were not restricted to use a specific search engine. Their screens were recorded during their search processes with the help of a screen capturing software. They were encouraged to search in a way that they did at home. Each session took place during the computer classes, thus the study lasted four weeks. Each week students printed their papers and handed to the researched. In the end of the study, students were interviewed. To sum up, students’ papers, screen recordings, and interviews were the main sources of qualitative analysis. Although a large amount of gathered data was analyzed, the whole data were not completed yet. 12 students have some common patterns of search.

They prefer Google’s search engine. Some of them started with Mynet’s search tool but then switched to Google. When the unfamiliar topic was assigned, half of the students preferred to visit Wikipedia’s page directly before using the search engine. Those preferring search engines clicked on one of the first three links provided by the search engine. As well as common search patterns, the common failures were also found. When the topic was unfamiliar, the number of spelling errors increased which caused unrelated page visits and longer task completion times. Moreover, the quality of papers’ content depended on the familiarity of the topic, but still there were many papers that included only copied and pasted information.

The interview data showed that using the search engine and dealing with a huge amount of data were not perceived as challenges. However, broken links, unrelated links, and too general keywords were perceived as diff iculties of web search.When the analysis of data will be completed, the findings will be discussed in the light of literature

Keywords : web search, internet search
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