|Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 8, Issue 1, Article
13 (June, 2007)
Meral HAKVERDI, Berna GÜCÜM & Hünkar KORKMAZ
Factors Influencing Pre-service Science Teachers’ Perception of Computer Self-efficacy
Self-efficacy in teaching with computers
Self-efficacy can be described as belief in one’s ability to perform a particular behavior. The theory of self-efficacy was developed by Bandura (1977; 1986; 1997). Computer self-efficacy represents
an individual’s perceptions of his or her ability to use computers in the accomplishment of a task (e.g. using a software package for data analysis, writing a mail merge letter using a word processor), rather than reflecting simple component skills (e.g. formatting diskettes, booting up a computer, using specific software features such as ‘bolding text’ or ‘changing margins’) (Compeau & Higgins, 1995, p. 191).
Self-efficacy regarding computers refers therefore to a person’s perceptions of and capabilities for applying computer technology (Compeau & Higgins, 1995). Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy provides a basis for understanding the behavior of individuals with regard to their acceptance or rejection of technology (Olivier & Shapiro, 1993). An individual’s feeling about a previous experience can affect beliefs about future performance. For this reason, individuals who perceive themselves as effective computer users predict positive computer experiences in the future. Individuals who perceive themselves as ineffective computer users, however, anticipate negative computer experiences in the future (Olivier & Shapiro, 1993).
The use of computer technology by teachers can be linked to teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs. For instance, Compeau and Higgins (1995) examined the factors that affect an individual’s use of technology. They found that participants with higher self-efficacy beliefs used computers more often and experienced less computer-related anxiety. According to Bandura (1977), an individual’s sense of expectations based on personal mastery affects both initiation and persistence in performing that behavior, and plays an important role in completion of a task or behavior. For this reason, a person with high self-efficacy is more likely to persist in overcoming obstacles to reach his goal. Compeau and Higgins noted that individuals with higher self-efficacy beliefs with regard to computers see themselves as able to use computer technology, regardless of how difficult or challenging the task is. On the other hand, individuals who have lower self-efficacy beliefs about computers become more frustrated and more anxious working with computers and hesitate to use computers when they encounter obstacles.
Olivier and Shapiro (1993) remarked that it is crucial to study teachers’ self-perceptions and behavior in studying the implementation and use of computer technology. Researchers found that self-efficacy is correlated to computer use (Compeau & Higgins, 1995; Compeau, Higgins, & Huff, 1999; Hasan, 2003; Marakas, Yi & Johnson, 1998; Potosky, 2002). Literature on factors influencing pre-service science teachers’ perceptions of computer self-efficacy is, however, limited.
Computer experience has also been associated with determining personal and educational use of computers. Hill, Smith and Mann (1987) found a significant positive correlation between previous computer experience and computer self-efficacy beliefs in a sample of 133 female undergraduates. They found that experience only influenced behavioral intentions to use computers indirectly through self-efficacy. Thus, positive past experience with computers will increase self-efficacy beliefs. Ertmer et al (1994) found that although positive computer experience increased computer self-efficacy, the actual amount of experience (i.e. time on task) had no correlation to the self-efficacy beliefs of undergraduate students.
Researchers (Chen, 1986; Koohang, 1987; Simonson, Maurer, Montag-Toaradi & Whitaker, 1987) have found a positive correlation between computer knowledge, attitudes toward computers and length of computer experience. Rosen and Weil (1995) found that an individual’s feelings about computers are influenced by the quality of his or her first experience with them. According to the researchers, if a teacher’s first experience of introducing computers to his students causes computer anxiety and discomfort in the teaching assignment, such an experience might cause later discomfort with technology (Rosen and Weil, 1995).
Research findings revealed that teachers’ feelings about computers were influenced by teachers’ computer experiences. The quality of the first experience might cause computer anxiety and discomfort. Thus, there is a relationship between computer experience and pre-service teachers’ attitudes toward computer and self-efficacy. In any attempt to measure pre-service science teachers’ perceptions of personal self-efficacy in reaching with computers, it is necessary to consider their experiences with technology.
1. Are pre-service science teachers’ perceptions of personal self-efficacy in teaching with computers associated with the following explanatory variables: the outcome expectancy, personal use of computers, educational use of computers, level of computer use, grade level, number of computer-related courses taken, age and gender?
2. Are pre-service science teachers’ perceptions of outcome expectancy associated with the following variables: personal self-efficacy in teaching with computers, personal use of computers, educational use of computers, level of computer use, grade level, number of computer-related courses taken, age and gender?
Participants for this study were 305 pre-service science teachers at a four-year public university in Turkey. During a regular classroom session, participants completed a survey instrument relating to their demographic characteristics and the Microcomputer Utilization in Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument in Science Setting (MUTEBİ).
Computer self-efficacy beliefs were used as the dependent variable in this study. The MUTEBI contains two sub-scales: Personal Self-Efficacy (SE) and Outcome Expectancy (OE), which are consistent with the theoretical construct of self-efficacy (Bandura, 1986, 1997). The Personal Self-Efficacy scale evaluates “teachers’ beliefs in their own ability to utilize the microcomputer for effective instruction” (p. 258).
The Outcome Expectancy items measure “teachers’ beliefs with regard to teacher responsibility for students’ ability or inability to utilize the microcomputer in the classroom” (p.258). The MUTEBI was derived from the Science Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument, Form A (STEBI A) (Riggs & Enochs, 1990). The MUTEBI utilized a Likert scale format with response categories of: strongly agree, agree, uncertain, disagree and strongly disagree. Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient for this study sample was 0.76 for the OE scale and 0.83 for the SE scale.
This study examines the following outcome variables regarding pre-service science teachers: pre-service science teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs about teaching with computers and the outcome expectancy. The variables selected for analysis include pre-service science teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs about teaching with computers, the outcome expectancy, personal use of computers, educational use of computers, level of computer use, grade level, number of computer-related courses taken, age and gender. Descriptive and inferential statistics were extracted from study responses. Descriptive statistics of frequency, central tendency, percentages and standard deviation were reported. Survey responses were analyzed by regression analysis procedures. Scores for outcome (dependent) variables were correlated with scores for each explanatory (independent) variable. For the statistically significant model, use of the regression coefficient and its statistical test assessed the strength of the relationship between the outcome variables and the individual explanatory variables.
Teachers’ beliefs affect their use of technology in the classroom (Ertmer, 1999; Marcinkiewicz & Grabowski, 1992). It is important to examine pre-service science teachers’ beliefs to understand the reasons behind their practice of using computer technology for instructional practice. This study particularly examines pre-service science teachers' computer self-efficacy.
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