Attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of academically talented and well-abled middle school children in their use of the Internet

Geyer, Roger W, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Bunch, John B., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Ferguson, Stephanie K., Mary Baldwin College, Mary Baldwin College
Gansneder, Bruce, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Ferster, William, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Using the Internet as a source for learning is rapidly transforming how we work and live. Internet-savvy children are vigorously participating in this new activity - largely outside of the classroom. A better understanding of these students' attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors will help guide educators in making the necessary pedagogical changes to meet 21st century social, cultural, and economic change.

This study investigated the construct of Internet-savviness exhibited by academically talented and well-abled youth, ages eight through fourteen. Grounded in learning theories of social constructivism and distributed intelligence, a survey scale was developed to measure Internet-savviness and to elicit these children's Internet-related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Reliability and validity analyses of the scales revealed satisfactory levels of internal consistency. An exploratory factor analysis revealed a clear, underlying structure of the following dimensions: 1) computer mediated communication, 2) creative expression, 3) information gathering, 4) Internet fluency, 5) Internet-self efficacy, and 6) social collaboration. ANOVA, MANOVA, and Regression analyses along with correlation and descriptive statistics analyses were applied to other variables of interest including Internet access speed, age, gender, frequency of Internet use, and Internet-savvy scores corresponded to self reports of type and location of access. Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Internet users. Thirty-three percent of youth rated themselves as Advanced users which aligns with previous research on Internet-savvy teens. Although females and males differed in Internet activities and scored below males on Internet-savviness, they closed the gap by age 12. Regarding gender, there were no statistical differences on dimension or total IS scores in this study. Doing something creative, exchanging images, access speed, age and access at home and at a friend's house were statistically significant predictors of IS scores. Effect sizes were reported. Narrative data was collected from the participants, analyzed, and summarized as a way to identify central themes regarding Internet use in and outside of school and to triangulate on the multidimensional nature of Internet-savviness.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
students, education, attitudes, internet

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-02-18 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:37:19.

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