The Internet is simply a network of hundreds of thousands of computers
all over the World, connected in a way that lets other computers access
information on them. So if a computer is connected to the Internet, in
principle, it can be connected to any other computer on the network. Today,
the Internet comprises more than 45000 regional, national and international
networks, which connect more than 30 million people in over 200 countries.
This includes organizations, schools, universities, companies, governments,
groups and individuals (Gray, 1999).
Most literature is directed at the Internet as a tool for educators. The
instructor's interest and convenience appear to be the key factors for
the use of the Internet as a teaching tool. The instructor seems to use
the Internet for courses if she or he has a strong interest in using the
Internet or if the Internet facilitates ease of course presentation. Halasz
(1997, 93) provides an example of the instructor-focused nature of the
Internet as a teaching tool. Online education offers "flexibility,
accuracy and convenience" as well as "cost and time savings"
for the instructor. The question remains: Is this new educational method
effective for students in the primary, secondary and higher education?
The aim of this study is to examine the educational uses and major technologies
of the Internet in the World and Turkey, discuss the applications, studies
and problems on the educational uses of the Internet in Turkey and present
a number of suggestions on the effective using of the Internet in Turkish
(primary, secondary and higher) education system.
EDUCATIONAL USES of the INTERNET in the WORLD
The Internet can be used as a supplement to traditional instructional
methods. To complement a lecture, instructors may ask students to find
specified Web sites to gain more in-depth knowledge about a particular
topic. An instructor may also ask students to search the Internet for
information on services offered in a particular location. In preparation
for a class topic such as diversity, students may be asked to search the
Internet to learn about different ethnic groups or populations at risk.
The Internet may also be used to replace the traditional classroom lecture.
A number of courses are being developed in which portions of the course
or the entire courseware offered via the Internet. The instructor may
place course notes on Web pages, may create a video recording of a live
lecture for viewing on the Internet, or use combinations of these ideas.
Forsyth (1998) discussed several methods of preparing courses for the
Internet including facilitating the use of video clips on Web pages as
well as the use of forms and other graphics on Web pages.
A final area for instructor awareness is student fear and/or lack of knowledge
about computers and the Internet. Primary and secondary students have
increasing access to computers in elementary schools and high schools,
but this does not mean that all college students are entering postsecondary
education with a competence or comfort level with computers that supports
their use of the Internet as a learning tool. Returning students may have
had very little access to computer technology during their life experiences.
Traditional-age students may have had poor computer instruction or may
have slipped through the primary and secondary educational system without
learning about computers and the Internet. Instructors need to take into
account the varying skill levels and comfort levels of students when designing
Internet material for courses (Forsyth, 1998).
According to Chickering and Gamson (1991), good practice in undergraduate
education (1) encourages student-faculty contact, (2) encourages cooperation
among students (3) encourages active learning, (4) gives prompt feedback,
(5) emphasises time on task, (6) communicates high expectations, (7) respects
diverse talent and ways of learning.
Although these principles may be addressed without technology, the Internet
offers a rich and efficient scaffolding for educators to address them
(Rither & Lemke, 2000, 101).
Wilson and Hord (2000, 35) determined that the new millennium would see
a dramatic increase in the numbers of Internet-assisted and Internet-based
courses offered by colleges, universities, and corporations in a wide
variety of disciplines.
Although the origins of the Internet stretch back several decades, it
is only in the last few years that it has really come to fore. The net
is essentially just a massive communications system that can link any
computer, any where in the World, to any other. Recently, electronic communication,
particularly email, has served to speed up interaction and this, together
with the other facilities offered by the Internet, seen set to revolutionize
distance education. The major Internet technologies available today are
the following: webpages, streaming audio and video, forms, java and activex,
virtual reality, chatrooms, whiteboards and collaborative surfing, audio/video
conferencing, computer mediated communication (CMC) (Davenport & Erarslan,
The tendency in the World about distance education is to pass from single-mode
that doesn't allow student- instructor interaction to the multi-mode that
has important interaction elements. One way video conference and television
programs are generally supported by telephone or fax in order to establish
two way communication between student and the instructor.
The point that is reached in the subject of distance education is the
interactive education that is served through WWW or videoconference through
Internet. Distance, or 'virtual', education which uses the possibilities
of hyper media and hyper text gives the opportunity of reaching more students
worldwide. The video conferencing through Internet may be much cheaper
than the educational television programs.
The use of audio to distribute content over the Internet is another viable
alternative audioconferencing is pedagogically learner centered because
it provides all learners with the opportunity to be active participants
is an older technology that involves the broadcasting of video in real
time simultaneously to many recipients (Wilson & Hord, 2000, 39-41).
The challenges of CMC have also been well documented and include: (a)
technical frustration due to the total reliance on technology and outside
support systems; (b) increased time-on-task due to the slowness of the
medium and the higher volume of messages, which also contributes to feelings
of information overload; (c) frequency of miscommunication due to the
loss of visual cues; and (d) disjointed flow of communication because
of the asynchronous time frame (Berge, 1995; Hiltz, 1994; Wiesenberg &
From the extensive analysis of the literature on designing CMC instruction,
Berge (1995) concluded that students and teachers need to dramatically
change the roles each plays in the learning-teaching process when moving
from a face-to-face to a virtual classroom. Berge offered an instructional
framework that categorizes teaching in a virtual classroom as a moderating
function that had four essential components. They were the following;(a)
pedagogical (didactic and guidance oriented, this role shapes on-line
discussions to focus on critical concepts); (b) social (supportive and
consultative, this role creates a friendly, inclusive and collaborative
learning environment); (c) managerial (administrative and organizational,
this role sets the agenda, learning objectives, procedural rules and norms);
and (d) technical (technically skilled troubleshooter, this role makes
the technology invisible to the users).
Grant and France (2000, 21) proposed a model for virtual classrooms, which
is specifically geared toward developing (Caribbean) countries. They declared
that advances in the development of the Internet infrastructure could
be used within developing countries to enhance the delivery of high quality
education to their citizens.
Bell (2000) designed Knowledge Integration Environment (KIE) debate projects
to take advantage of Internet resources and promote student understanding
of science. Design decisions were guided by the Scaffolded Knowledge Integration
instructional framework. He reported on design studies that tested and
elaborated on instructional framework and examined how students used evidence,
determined when they add further ideas and claims and measure progress
in understanding light propagation .
Tsai ,Lin., and Yuan (2000) described an attempt of using a www-based
concept map testing system, which was developed to assess high school
students' concepts in physics. A total of ninety Taiwanese eleventh graders
were tested through the on-line system and they, then, completed a questionnaire.
The responses of the questionnaire revealed that the speed of information
transferring, supported by the system was not quick enough. However, students
did not think on-line test would cause some problems of cheating. More
than a half of the subjects showed willingness of using the system in
In a study entitled “The digital divide: Hispanic College students’
views on educational uses of the Internet” (Slate, Manuel, &
Brinson, 2002) concern has been expressed recently regarding the presence
of a digital divide between majority and minority groups. Surveyed were
226 Hispanic college freshmen enrolled at a doctoral intensive institution
in the Southwest regarding their attitudes toward educational uses of
the Internet and their uses of technology. Statistically significant differences
were found between males and females in their attitudes toward and uses
of the Internet and computer technology. Differences were also revealed
between students whose primary language spoken at home was English and
students whose primary language spoken at home was Spanish in their attitudes
toward and uses of the Internet and computer technology. Interestingly,
no differences were present between first-generation and non-first-generation
college students. Implications of their findings and relationships to
existing literature are provided.
Simon (2001) described a series of classes wherein technology usage was
taken to its ultimate degree: as a replacement for, rather than a supplement
to, a traditional textbook. First, he discussed the development and implementation
of the technologies and datas were presented by student opinions of their
effectiveness: What advantages and disadvantages the technology offered
compared to more traditional media? He addressed the shortcomings of the
technology along with practical suggestions for reducing these obstacles.
The US public school system has long been perceived as a major avenue
to increase equality among diverse groups of students; however, the introduction
of technology into schools has created an ever-expanding chasm of inequity
(Postman, 1999). Gladieux and Swail (1999) contended that the introduction
of technology into schools, unfortunately, has created a group of technologically
disadvantaged students-students who do not have access to computers at
home, and only encounter computers in their schools. Selwyn (1999) reported
that 983 college freshmen and sophomores who had computers at home asserted
more favourable attitudes toward using computers in their schoolwork than
college students who did not have computers at home.
Sherman and et al. (2000) investigated the Internet gender gap among college
students by comparing the usage patterns and attitudes of three cohort
of students in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Attitudes toward the technology also
differed between men and women and these differences also did not change
over time. The longitudinal data showed similar patterns. In general theirs,
investigation suggests that differences continue to exist between collage
men and women in how they experience Internet technology and assessments
that the Internet will soon be gender neutral are perhaps premature.
Selwyn, Marriott and Marriott’s (2000) study entitled “Net
Gains or Net Pains? Business Students’ Use of the Internet”
taked an empirial perspective in students’ use of the Internet,
via focus group interviews with 77 students in two UK universities, and
explored the factors underlying their use (and non-use) of the Internet
in university. Four crucial themes were identified, namely; (1) the ways
in which students were introduced to using the Internet, (2) operational
problems encountered when using the Internet as an information resource,
(3) treatment of information retrieved from the Internet, (4) the social
element of learning in on-line environments. These factors were examined
in detail and discussed in relation to the future presentation and organization
of students’ Internet use in university settings.
Throughout the interview data it was noticeable that many of the students
did not feel altogether at ease with using the Internet as an educational
tool. Searching for information on the Internet was seen by many students
as something that they have little, or no, control over. In the case of
many undergraduates the Internet was seen as relevant and of real utility
to their degree work. In the case of using the Internet as an information
resource it was seen by many as simply too unwidely, unreliable and untrustworthy
to be extensively used.
Selwyn, Marriott and Marriott(2000) suggested that universities must be
clear as to “why” they are encouraging students to use the
Internet and most importantly, ensure that these rationales are conveyed
to both students and staff. They suggested that students should have a
clear and valid rationale for using the Internet, not simply because they
feel obliged to do so. They determined that for the Internet to be successfully
used in higher education its significance as an effective learning tool
must be highly “visible”, whilst simultaneously its role as
a mediating technology supporting visibility of the subject matter must
be highly “invisible”.
INTERNET USING in TURKISH EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
Before we explain
the using of Internet in the primary,secondary and higher education in
Turkey,we want to introduce the related literature;
Review of the Literature
The Directorate General of Press and Information on the Turkish Republic
pamphlet <<Education in Turkey>> cites the following Turkish
educational goal (Meriwether, 1998; 122):
Education in democracy: Efforts will be directed towards instilling
in students the required knowledge for democracy; to create a society
that is strong, suitable, free and democratic, with citizens possessing
the necessary knowledge relevant to administering the country, with developed
feelings of responsibility and respect for moral values.
Meriwether (1998) pointed that there was no greater tool available than
Internet at this time for Turkish students of primary-secondary schools
to learn both this required knowledge and the personal responsibility
necessary for democracy. Meriwether suggested a way to facilititate and
set guidelines for exploring and using the Internet for learning in an
environment that supported collaboration and cooperation. The process
focuses on students and Internet use in school settings. Policies could
be developed also which focus on school staff and the Internet provider
(province/nation). It was suggested that this approach was considered
for use the Turkish educational system.
Halici and Others (1998) proposed that in Turkey, although there was no
infrastructure of computer network for education yet, the Universities
were most convenient places for the pilot applications because of the
infrastructure of their computer network facilities and the familiarity
of the students to the subjects. They created an interactive environment
for a graduate level course. For this aim, the students of Middle East
Technical University would access the HTML pages in which Java scripts
and applet were used through a WWW service.
Çagiltay (2001) declared that educational uses of the Internet
in Turkey, were in the infancy period. There were a few attempts to integrate
the Internet into K-12 schools and higher education institutions. The
main problem was that most people saw it as the key to solving the problems
of education, forgetting with educational television and other new technologies
of the past.
In a study entitled “Virtual Classrooms on the WEB: Problems and
Solutions in Turkey” (Bayram & Uzunçarsili, 1998) a field
survey on the Internet was applied to 356 Internet users. In this survey
the one of the three main questions was that: “What is your main
problem during the use of Turkish virtual classrooms?”. The survey
showed that the main problems are related to current hardware and software
and cost constraints. The other problem are more basic, relating to skills
helpful in virtual classroom but not common in the general population.
Some users pointed out more than one problem, and some of them explained
that these problems have negative effects on the use of Turkish virtual
In 1992, a computer-mediated distance education was implemented between
Turkish Open University and American universities the University of New
Mexico, the University of Oklahoma, Florida State University, Arizona
State University, and the University of Wyoming in Turkey American and
Turkish students took some courses from this system.
Students in Anadolu University, evaluated the project which was using
the Internet connection among four universities as very successful because,
they said, the named, the global classroom provided them with:
- Practice for
their English skills;
- New friends
from around the world who have common interests;
- Equal access
- A cost-effective
way of receiving information;
- Delivery of
information outside traditional classroom lectures;
- The opportunity
for individual interaction with information (McIsaac, 1992).
Yuruker and Uzer
(2002) proposed a model named “Internet In The Schools of Turkey”.
The model had two main components to it; 1-The Main Education Center (MEC)
and, 2-Mobil Electronic Classroom. They pointed out that Internet would
provide a resource for the teacher as a part of the model. Teacher would
be able to use it as tutorial, support material and virtual environment.
For successful implementation of the Model, innovative curriculum developers,
technicians to help teachers in Electronic Classroom, experienced teachers
in computers, networking, and tools-management were necessary.
Özgen., Marasli., and Yalçin (1996) proposed a model for distance
education through Internet in Turkey. The main aim of this model was to
provide Internet-Mediated Distance Education to the persons to overcome
the difficulties such as place and time.
Usun(2003)maked a survey study on the undergraduate students’ attitudes
towards educational uses of Internet.The aim of this study was to determine
the attitudes of undergraduate students toward the educational uses of
the Internet. A questionnaire of 27 items was applied to 207 undergraduate
students at the Department of Computer and Instructional Technologies
Education (CITE) of Faculty of Education of Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University(Turkey)
during the fall 2002 semester.
According to the responses of entire sample the top five ranked items
were the following:
The Internet is as important as other research tools (n=141)
2- I find using the Internet to be easer than using the library (n=107)
3- Using the Internet makes learning fun (n=89)
4- I access the Internet more at school than at home (n=80)
5- Knowledge of the Internet is essential for surviving college (n=79)
Students most frequently
(n=196) said that they would access their course materials if they were
on the Web and 169 of them determined that would take a class required
Internet use, if given a choice.
Use in Primary and Secondary Education in Turkey
In 1990 the first computer network connection in Turkey was established.
During the first six years several universities were the dominant users
of this tool. However, since 1996, the Internet in Turkey has touched
almost all sectors, including banking, education, and health.
Although there have been many attempts to integrate the Internet into
Turkish primary and secondary school curricula since the mid-1990s, almost
all of them were lost in the slow working, highly bureaucratic, and centralized
organization of the Ministry of National Education. However, a few private
schools and institutions are allowing their students to use the Internet
to communicate with foreign peers or conduct searches for information
related to their homework. Further, most of them focus only on preparing
students for the university entrance exam. Egitim.com, okulum.com and
Mef-Digital are some examples of Websites developed for helping K-12 students
in this way (Aydin, 2001).
In 1993 project named Computer Experimental Schools (CES) was initiated
by the MOE with the financial support of the World Bank. In the CES project,
53 schools located in different regions of Turkey are to use specially
equipped facilities for teaching and learning. It is also expected that
a computer-mediated communication network linking these schools will provide
a technological and pedagogical edge (Yedekçioglu, 1996).
The World Bank supported project, called the "Project for Globalization
in Education 2000" began a very important step for the Turkish Educational
System. The aim of this project was to follow the developments of the
information age and to use instructional technology in each level of the
education system to be able to create a society with adapted information
and technology standards. Through this project, new computer labs were
established in 2,451 primary and secondary schools in 80 cities and 921
towns in Turkey. In each of these schools the technology class rooms were
equipped with: computers, printers, scanners, office program, courseware
for computer literacy, courseware for different subjects, educataiment
(education + entertainment) courseware, electronic references, video,
overhead projectors, TV, educational videocassettes, and transparencies
(Akkoyunlu & Orhan,2001).
The computer companies sponsoring this project provided one year of free
Internet access to project schools. The people living near the schools
had a chance to use the Internet during the weekends. The second phase
of this project will continue with 3000 schools. In this project some
basic principles were accepted for Turkey to move into the 21.st century.
One of the basic principles was to support formal education through distance
Internet Use in Higher Education in Turkey
Although the computer aided education is not widely used in Turkey, it
is served to the schools nationwide (Murphy, 1996). Eskisehir Anadolu
University constructed a computer laboratory that is composed of 20-30
computers that are connected with a local network in 14 cities by synchronized
work. With the computer aided studies of National Education Ministry and
connection of the computers in the laboratory that is constructed in Anatolia
to a national network, the students in Anatolia and big cities will be
served great amount of information and they will be able to contact to
the students at their level.
There is a great tendency toward Web-based instruction programs in most
open universities and other educational institutions. Some already have
started to offer on-line degree or certificate programs. For example,
Anadolu University has provided on-line self-test opportunities for its
distance learners since 1998. Anadolu University has also been trying
to offer some on-line alternative courses for its on-campus students in
order to be able to understand how feasible, effective, efficient, and
appealing it is to offer on-line programs, and established a foundation
for a "virtual" university in 1998. Starting Fall 2001, the
University will offer an on-line two-year on-line degree or certificate
As with Anadolu University, some other Turkish Universities are opening
on-line certificate and degree programs. Middle East Technical University
(METU), for example, has several on-line certificate programs on information
technology, English language, or computer skills. Like METU and Bilgi
University, which are kinds of a private institutions, have been providing
an on-line degree program called e-- MBA for almost two years. In 1996,
Bilkent University and in 2000, September 18, Istanbul University constructed
the system of videoconferencing.
For example distance education is performed by Firat TV programs in Firat
University, some studies are performed using e-mail and education with
WWW through Internet is one of the desired aims. Besides these, there
are many serious efforts at other universities such as Sakarya University
to open on-line programs; however, most of these efforts are still at
the idea stage of development or are limited to several on-line courses.
Internet home pages become a part of daily life in most of the universities
of Turkey, but there are few studies for the usage of Internet for education.
The Higher Education Council (YOK), a governmental agency, has established
a committee called the National Informatics Committee (EMK). Its objectives
are to facilitate academic cooperation by enabling the sharing of educational
resources among universities; to increase the effectiveness of education
by making use of the interactive medium provided by information technologies;
and thus increase the efficiency of higher education and its accessibility
to new student audiences. Beyond these, the main goal was to establish
a virtual university in Turkey.
When we review the educational uses of the Internet in the World we see
that this new educational and instructional technology is used effectively
in the primary, secondary schools and universities by the developed countries.
The Internet is an educational tool of enormous potential and can be used
to replace the traditional classroom lecture and to revolutionize distance
education. In addition, it can be used a supplement to traditional instructional
The delivery of educational materials over the Internet is now almost
commonplace in some of affluent developed countries and the developing
countries need to enhance the delivery of high quality and effective primary,
secondary and higher education to their citizens. Here, the main question
is that: How can they benefit from the Internet for this purpose?
Turkey is a developing country and there have been many tendencies and
attempts to integrate the Internet into Turkish primary, secondary and
higher education system since 1990. The World Bank supported two projects;
named “Computer Experimental School” and “Project for
Globalization in Education 2000” aims were to support the Turkish
formal (primary and secondary) education through distance education with
the computer-mediated communication network linking. The computer companies
sponsoring second project provided one year of free Internet access to
project schools. But, inspite of these attempts and tendencies because
of the slow working, highly bureaucratic and centralized organization
of Turkish Ministry of National Education in Turkey there is no infrastructure
of computer network for primary and secondary education yet, and the educational
uses of the Internet are still in the start period.
When we compare with the primary and secondary education, there are more
attempts and tendencies to integrate the Internet into Turkish higher
education than primary and secondary education. Some Turkish universities
such as Anadolu University and Middle East Technical University have started
to offer web-based online degree or certificate programs such as English
language or computer skills. Anadolu University established a foundation
for a “virtual” university in 1998.
According to the findings of some studies, the main problems during the
use of Turkish virtual classrooms are related to current the hardware
and the software and the cost constrains. The other problem are more basic,
relating to skills helpful in virtual classroom.
The Turkish universities are most convenient places for the pilot distance
education applications because of the infrastructure of their network
facilities and the familiarity of the students to the subjects. Although
the governmental agency, The Higher Education Council’s aim was
to establish a virtual university in Turkey during the 2000-2001 academic
year, several courses were offered on-line but sufficient data was not
available regarding the effectiveness and appeal of these courses.
When we compare with the other developed countries, the educational uses
of the Internet in Turkey are still in the infancy period. The mandatory
primary education in Turkey has been extended from five years to eight
years. The some problems encountered in the process are expansion, school,
hardware and manpower. Distance education and the Internet as a supporting
tool and technology are very important alternatives to solve these problems.
With the computer aided studies of the Ministry of National Education
and connection of the computers in the laboratory that is constructed
in Anatolia to a national network, the students in Anatolia and big cities
will be served great amount of information and they will be able to contact
to the students at their level. Although, Internet home pages become a
part of daily life in most of the universities of Turkey, there are few
studies for the usage of Internet for education.
Our some suggestions on the educational uses of Internet in Turkey are
1. Advances in the development of the Internet infrastructure should be
used within developing countries to enhance the delivery of high quality
primary, secondary and higher education to their citizens.
2. The Ministry of National Education, with speed working, should realize
The World Bank supported projects at once.
3. The budgets of the Ministry of National Education and universities
should be increased.
4. The difficulties that appeared because of the highly bureaucratic and
centralized organization of the Ministry of National Education should
5. The Ministry of National Education should use the distance education
in primary education as a supporting tool and support the formal education
through distance education with constructed network linking.
6. The all universities should seek for using the Internet for education
and start to offer the feasible, efficient, effective and interactive
on-line degree and certificate programs.
7. It must be facilitated the academic cooperation by enabling the sharing
of educational resources among Turkish universities.
8. To enhance academic cooperation between the all Turkish universities
should be constructured the network linking with the computer-mediated
9. We must not see the Internet as the key to solve the problems of Turkish
education. The Internet is not a key or unique source, but it is only
supportive, effective and interactive communication technology in distance
education to move Turkey into the 21.st century named “information
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