Turkish Pre-service Teachers’ Perceptions of Digital Citizenship in Education Programs

Rıdvan Ata, Kasım Yıldırım
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 18  •  2019  •  pp. 419-436

The principal aim of this study was to reveal digital citizenship levels of pre-service teachers enrolled in 1st and 2nd year in the education faculty at the Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University in Muğla, Turkey. Pre-service teachers’ perceptions of digital citizenship and their patterns of knowledge of digital citizenship were explored.

This study examines the concepts of digital citizenship, including digital communication, digital rights / responsibilities, critical thinking, digital participation, digital security, digital skills, digital ethics, and digital commerce, of pre-service teachers and their interaction with instructional technology. This research study will inform policies and strategies to enhance teacher trainings and education in Turkey.

A mixed methodology of data sources including a survey and open-ended questions were collected to explore pre-service teachers’ perceptions of digital citizenship. The Digital Citizenship Scale was used as the quantitative data collection instrument. Various statistical techniques and tests such as ANOVA, t-Test, and Tukey HSD were used in the analysis of the data.

This study contributes to existing literature knowledge by demonstrating the patterns of digital citizenship that influence Turkish pre-service teachers’ professional development and deepening the discussion of change in policies and strategies in education programs in Turkey.

Results indicated that there was a statistically significant difference of digital citizenship scores of male and female pre-service teachers with male participants scoring higher than female participants. However, participants’ mean scores did not significantly differentiate by their departments. Similarly, it was observed that participants’ mean scores did not significantly differentiate by the high school types. As far as parent educational background was concerned, the mean scores of the participants did not indicate a significant difference by the education level of the mother, but the scores differed significantly by the father’s education level. Similar responses emerged in the open-ended questions. Participants expressed that they felt competent in digital communication and digital participation and their parents are partly influential in the improvement of these skills. In addition, the majority of the participants stated that the major they enrolled did not have any contribution to their digital skills so far.

Recommendations for practitioners to include in their teacher education programs training pre-service teachers to become digital citizens.

Recommendations for researchers to include identifying practical activities that enhance pre-service teachers’ digital citizenship skills.

The findings and results of this study will help display a universal digital citizenship model for pre-service and veteran teachers in Turkey as well as to strengthen their interaction with instructional and information technologies through policy and strategy changes in educational settings.

Further studies should be undertaken, especially in developing countries. Future research can further explore pre-service teachers’ perceptions of digital citizenship such as digital rights, responsibilities, and ethics as well as evaluating the opinions of school administrators, students, and parents regarding their perceptions of digital citizenship in educational settings.

digital citizenship, pre-service primary school teachers, digital technologies, internet
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