The use of the Internet among EFL teachers at the colleges of technology in Saudi Arabia
Ali M. Al-Asmari, The Ohio State University, United States
The Ohio State University . Awarded
Because of its far reaching impact on many aspects and functions of educational institutions and its potential benefits for educators, the Internet has been the topic of much interest within the educational community. Ways of using the Internet as a medium to deliver instructional materials and to access digital libraries are reshaping how college campuses function, including the creation of virtual campuses.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of the Internet by teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) in Saudi Arabian colleges of technology. A secondary purpose was to explore the relationship of teachers' use of the Internet with a selected set of variables. These variables included EFL teachers' personal characteristics, their level of access to the Internet, their perceived computer and Internet expertise, and their perceptions of the Internet as a tool for instruction. This study derived its theoretical framework from Rogers' (1995) model of diffusion of innovations.
Both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed to collect data on the population. A questionnaire was developed and distributed to all EFL teachers (N = 203) in the four main colleges of technology in Saudi Arabia (located in Riyadh, Abha, Jeddah, and Dammam) during the 2004–005 academic year. Validity and reliability were established for the survey instrument. The return rate of the survey was 81%. The survey stage was followed by phone interviews with a random sample of 15 teachers.
Results from both the quantitative and qualitative domains of the study indicated that the participants had rarely used the Internet, particularly for instructional purposes. Indeed, they reported more use of the Internet for personal than for instructional purposes. Participants had high levels of Internet use in mainstream Internet services such as e-mail and the World Wide Web. While they had positive perceptions of the use of the Internet as a pedagogical tool, they had relatively limited levels of access to and expertise with computers and the Internet. Positive correlations existed between teachers' level of use of the Internet and five independent variables, including computer and Internet expertise, place of access to the Internet, perceptions of the Internet, computer experience, and Internet experience. Multiple regression analysis indicated that only expertise, place of access, and Internet experience had a significant predictive value of teachers' use of the Internet. The results indicated that approximately 39% of the variance in Internet use was explained by the independent variables included in this study.
A major conclusion of the study was that to increase Internet use, EFL teachers need to be given more Internet training. In-service training needs to be a top priority, with a primary focus on using the Internet as a tool for teaching and learning. Also, based on the study's findings, it was recommended that policy-makers maintain EFL teachers' positive perceptions of the pedagogical use of the Internet by spending more money on increasing the computer infrastructure in the colleges of technology in Saudi Arabia, on improving Internet access and services, and on educating both teachers and students with respect to issues concerning the cultural appropriateness of materials available on the Web.
Al-Asmari, A.M. The use of the Internet among EFL teachers at the colleges of technology in Saudi Arabia. Ph.D. thesis, The Ohio State University.
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Khawla Al-Wehaibi, Prince Sultan University, Saudi Arabia; Areej Al-Wabil, City University London, Saudi Arabia; Amany Alshawi, Prince Sultan University, Saudi Arabia; Zainab Alshankity, King Fahad Medical City, Saudi Arabia
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2008 (Jun 30, 2008) pp. 24–33
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