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An electronic library-based learning environment for supporting web-based problem-solving activities.
Abstract:
This study aims to develop an electronic library-based learning environment to support teachers in developing web-based problem-solving activities and analyzing the online problem-solving behaviors of students. Two experiments were performed in this study. In study 1, an experiment on 103 elementary and high school teachers (the learning activity designers) has been conducted to understand their views toward an electronic library-based learning environment. The results showed that with this innovative approach, electronic libraries not only have the potential to support traditional in-class learning, but also can assist teachers in developing learning activities for training students in web-based problem-solving abilities. Moreover, teachers of different ages and backgrounds all readily accepted the new approach, in particular, the older and more experienced teachers showed even higher willingness to use the system than the younger and less experienced teachers. In study 2, a quasi-experiment on 62 elementary school students (experimental group with 31 students and control group with 31 students) has been undertaken on a natural science course for evaluating the effectiveness of the proposed approach. Experimental results showed that this innovative approach can improve the students' learning achievements and attitudes in comparisons with the conventional web-based learning approach.

Keywords

Web-based learning, Problem-solving, Learning portfolio, Electronic library, Computer-assisted assessment

Article Type:
Report
Subject:
School environment (Research)
Elementary school students (Education)
Digital libraries (Usage)
Problem solving (Study and teaching)
World Wide Web (Usage)
Learning (Methods)
Authors:
Tsai, Pei-Shan
Hwang, Gwo-Jen
Tsai, Chin-Chung
Hung, Chun-Ming
Huang, Iwen
Pub Date:
10/01/2012
Publication:
Name: Educational Technology & Society Publisher: International Forum of Educational Technology & Society Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Computers; Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 International Forum of Educational Technology & Society ISSN: 1436-4522
Issue:
Date: Oct, 2012 Source Volume: 15 Source Issue: 4
Topic:
Event Code: 310 Science & research Computer Subject: World Wide Web
Product:
Product Code: E197200 Students, Elementary
Accession Number:
310150655
Full Text:
Background and motivation

The rapid growth of digital resources has encouraged the development of digital archives for various purposes. One of the most important roles of digital archives is to serve as learning material providers for the learning activities conducted in all levels of schools (Boumarafi, 2010; Chen, 2010; Chu, Hwang, & Tseng, 2010; Hall & Davison, 2007). In the past decade, many studies concerning the use of digital archives in education have been reported (Chiou, Tseng, Hwang, & Heller, 2010); for example, Chu, Hwang, Huang and Wu (2008) developed an electronic library to support outdoor learning for an elementary school natural science course.

While trying to find better ways of using digital resources in education, educators have recognized the importance of training students in the competence of collecting and using information for problem solving. Various studies have been conducted to investigate this issue, including the development of learning strategies or tools to support web- based problem-solving activities (Hwang, Tsai, Tsai, & Tseng, 2008; Skylar, Higgins, & Boone, 2007; Tseng, Hwang, Tsai, & Tsai, 2009), investigations of the learning behaviors and performance of students using web-based information for solving problems (Allan & Street, 2007; Tsai, Tsai, & Hwang, 2011), and the development of subject content-related digital archives for supporting problem-solving activities (Chen & Chen, 2010; Wang & Hannafin, 2009).

One of the major difficulties of using digital resources in learning activities is the lack of an easy-to-follow procedure for inexperienced teachers to design subject content such that suitable digital archives or technologies can be properly applied to the learning process (Chu et al., 2008; Hwang, Chu, Lin, & Tsai, 2011; Hwang, Kuo, Yin, & Chuang, 2010), in particular, problem-solving activities. Therefore, it has become an important but challenging issue to develop a learning environment to assist the teachers in using electronic libraries to develop web-based problem-solving activities.

Based upon these perspectives, in this paper, an electronic library-oriented learning environment for supporting webbased problem-solving is presented, which provides an innovative approach to guiding teachers to systematically and efficiently design web-based problem-solving activities with electronic libraries. The feedback of the teachers who have experienced the proposed learning environment is collected to evaluate the usefulness of this innovative approach; moreover, an experiment has been conducted on an elementary school natural science learning activity to compare the learning performance of the students who learned with the proposed approach and that of the students who learned with conventional web-based learning approach.

Literature review

Electronic libraries have been recognized as being important resources and facilities for supporting educational activities (Saeed, 2006). The rapid advance and popularity of the World Wide Web have further enabled people to conduct web-based learning activities with electronic libraries (Mourad et al., 2005; Polly & Ausband, 2009). Nowadays, electronic libraries play an important role in library service. Various studies have been conducted to develop new information technologies to provide more efficient and effective library services (Uzoka & Ijatuyi 2005). Meanwhile, the number of Internet users is increasing at a dramatic speed; therefore, it has become an important issue to develop effective mechanisms for helping students utilize electronic libraries on the Internet (Saeed, 2006; Chu et al., 2008).

Among the existing alternatives for web-based learning, the development of a web-based problem-solving activity is one of the most crucial and challenging issues for teachers. Web-based problem solving refers to learning activities which engage students in utilizing digital information in an organized and meaningful manner. In a web-based problem solving activity, the students are asked to collect data from the Internet using search engines in order to answer questions raised by the teachers, or to state their opinions about a particular issue (Polly & Ausband, 2009).

Many researchers have reported the effectiveness of web-based problem-solving approaches. Kanuka, Rourke and Laflamme (2007) found several advantages of such an approach, including providing the opportunity to structure the collected information, and allocating clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the students. Zheng, Perez, Williamson and Flygare (2008) further investigated the perceptions of teachers regarding the use of web-based problem-solving strategies, and received positive feedback. It can be seen that guiding the students to learn to solve problems via searching for information from digital resources has become an important and challenging issue. These studies not only demostrate the importance of providing new electronic library services in education, but also show the necessity of developing new facilities to help teachers develop web-based problem-solving activities that will enable the students to solve problems by searching for information from electronic libraries. In the following sections, a new approach to coping with these problems is presented in detail.

Development of the electronic Library-Oriented learning environment

The electronic library-oriented learning environment, Library-Quest, has been developed. Figure 1 shows the structure of Library-Quest, which consists of five components: a Search Agent to derive relevant information from the electronic library which was designed by teachers, a Content Analyzer to recognize the derived information, a Content Reorganizer to reformat the information for show, a Searching Behaviors Recorder to record each students' problem-solving portfolio, and a Searching Behaviors Analyzer to help the teachers analyze the students' online behaviors based on their problem-solving portfolios.

To more effectively assist them in administering web-based problem-solving activities, the teachers can create learning activities, materials and student accounts in advance. According to the pre-defined user accounts, LibraryQuest can provide different interfaces for students and teachers; hence, after the students log into Library-Quest, they will see a list of issues to be explored, which are pre-defined by the teachers. When the students choose an issue, a search interface for problem solving will be displayed.

As shown in the left snapshot of Figure 2, the student interface consists of four operation areas: The question and answer area is located on the left-hand side and can be hidden, the function-selecting area is located on the upper-right and provides several useful functions for problem-solving, such as simple search, advanced search, category browsing, title browsing and author browse, the information-searching and result area is located on the lower-left of the window, and the content area is located on the lower-right for displaying the selected information, including text, images and video. An illustrative example of using the student interface is given in the right snapshot of Figure 2. After reading a question, the students can temporarily hide the "question and answer" area, such that they will have plenty of space to use the "category browsing" function to search for information and to browse the content that might be relevant to the question. The entire student portfolio, including the search functions that have been selected, the browsed content and the student behaviors, are recorded in the server.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Figure 3 shows the teacher interface for browsing the problem-solving portfolio of individual students. The problem-solving portfolio includes the answers to each question, the search functions that have been selected, the contents that have been browsed, and the browsing time for each content, etc. The "operation" column records the problemsolving behaviors of each student, including "submit answer," "temporary answer," "input keywords in simple search function," "information selection in simple search function," "browse content in simple search function," "input keywords in advanced search function," "information selection in advanced search function," "browse content in advanced search function," "browse content in category browsing function," "browse content in title browsing function," and "browse content in author browse function." In the following, the search functions of Library-Quest are introduced in detail.

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 4 OMITTED]

The simple search function

Figure 4 shows the student interface for using the "simple search" function to collect information for problem solving. The student can enter keywords or a phrase to search for information in the selected field, browse the search results returned from the server which was created by the teachers, and then browse the content that might be relevant to the question.

The advanced search function

Figure 5 shows the student interface for using Boolean operators to gather information for problem solving. The student can input keywords or phrases to search for information in the selected fields with Boolean operators, browse the search results that are returned from the server which was created by the teachers, and then browse the content that might be relevant to the question.

[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]

The category browsing function

Figure 6 displays the student interface of using the "category browsing" function to obtain information for problem solving. The student can follow the steps as below, and then browse the content that might be relevant to the question.

Step 1: select a main category.

Step 2: select a secondary category based on the selected main category.

Step 3: select a title based on the selected secondary category and main category.

The title browsing function

Figure 7 illustrates the student interface for using the "title browsing" function to collect information for problem solving. The student can select a title, and then browse the content that might be relevant to the question.

[FIGURE 7 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 8 OMITTED]

The author browse function

Figure 8 shows the student interface of using the "author browse" function to gather information for problem solving. The student can select an author, and then select a title based on the selected author to browse the content that might be relevant to the question.

Study 1: Teachers' feedback of using Library-Quest

An experiment has been conducted to evaluate the "perceived ease of use," "perceived usefulness" and "attitude toward using" of 103 elementary and high school teachers (the learning activity designers). The participants first experienced the learning activity development and analysis functions as well as the problem-solving interface of Library-Quest; next, they were arranged to use the problem-solving interface of Library-Quest to search for data from the electronic library to answer the questions concerning the ecological issues of the Chiku wetland in southern Taiwan. The Chiku wetland is the largest and the most intact lagoon in Taiwan. The main water source of the wetland is the Zengwun River which brings large varieties of biological, nutritive products, forming the excellent habitat. Many shorebirds, wildfowl and egrets gather on sandbars in the river, the most famous being the black-faced spoonbill. There are less than 2,000 black-faced spoonbills on the planet, of which 850 stay on the fish farm in the Chiku wetland each year from October to February. In this learning activity, the participants were asked to answer the following questions concerning the Chiku wetland:

(1) What are the representative birds in the Chiku ecological region in Taiwan? How are they distributed in this region?

(2) What are the migratory birds in Tainan which forage in the Chiku fish ponds? Does this area provide enough food for them?

(3) What are the representative plants in the Chiku wetlands? Do they have special features that are different from the plants in other areas?

(4) The government would like to urbanize the Chiku region. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

After experiencing the use of the electronic library and the learning activity development procedure, the teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire that consists of three scales (six items for each scale), presented with strongly agree/disagree statements on a six-point Likert scale. Two experts in the field of Internet-based instruction had commented on the items of the questionnaire for face validity, and two elementary school teachers had been selected to clarify the wording of each item. A detailed description of the three scales is presented below.

(1) Perceived usefulness scale: assessing perceptions of the degree to which teachers expect that using LibraryQuest will enhance students' learning performance.

(2) Attitude toward using scale: measuring perceptions of the degree to which teachers will be willing to use it and recommend it to peers.

(3) Perceived ease of use scale: exploring perceptions of the degree to which teachers expect Library-Quest to be free of effort.

Teachers' feedback via exploratory factor analysis

In accordance with the suggestions of Henson and Roberts (2006), Lee, Johanson, and Tsai (2008), and Worthington and Whittaker (2006), this study first examined the KMO measure of sampling adequacy index and Bartlett's test of sphericity to ensure whether the samples are appropriate for exploratory factor analysis. The results indicated that the KMO measure of sampling adequacy index was 0.84, and Bartlett's test of sphericity was significant ([chi square] (df = 78, n = 103) = 966.99, p < .0001), showing that the samples are appropriate for this kind of analysis. Then, a principle components analysis with an oblique rotation was implemented on these items. According to the factors of the questionnaire seemed to be correlated, an oblique rotation was applied in this study. In addition, a combination of methods (e.g., conceptual clarity, eigenvalue > 1, and scree plots) were utilized to decide the number of the retained factors, suggesting that three factors should be retained. For the final version of the questionnaire, an item within a factor was retained only when its pattern coefficient (factor loading) was greater than 0.50 on the relevant factor and less than 0.50 on the non-relevant factor. Consequently, the initial 18 items were reduced to 13 items in the final version of the questionnaire (shown in Appendix A), and the total variance explained is 75.10%.

As shown in Table 1, the communalities (h2) of all items were at least 0.50. The retained three factors included Perceived usefulness (PU), Attitude toward using (A), and Perceived ease of use (EOU). The reliability (Cronbach's alpha) for each factor is high (i.e., 0.93, 0.85 and 0.84, respectively; the overall alpha coefficient is 0.90), indicating that these factors had sufficient reliability for measuring teachers' views toward Library-Quest.

Teachers' ratings on the questionnaire

Table 2 shows the teachers' average ratings and standard deviations on the scales. The teachers gave the highest ratings on the "attitude toward using" scale, implying that an electronic library-oriented approach has potential to assist teachers in supporting web-based problem-solving activities; hence, the teachers are willing to keep using Library-Quest and recommend it to their peers. In addition, the teachers have positive perspectives of the electronic library-oriented approach and gave high ratings on all of the scales (above 4 on a 1-6 Likert scale), implying that an electronic library-oriented approach has high potential for supporting web-based problem-solving activities with proper user interface design and the provision of collocated functions. In sum, this study can conclude that the effectiveness of Library-Quest is accepted by most of the teachers.

Comparisons of usage feedback between male and female teachers

This study compared the responses of the male and female teachers, as shown in Table 3. The results revealed that there were no significant differences between the male and female teachers in terms of their beliefs of perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use; however, there were significant differences in the "attitude toward using" scale, with the male teachers having higher ratings on the scale than the female teachers. These results indicate that the male teachers expressed stronger willingness to keep using Library-Quest and to recommend it to their peers than did the female teachers.

The correlation among Internet usage experience, teaching experience and the questionnaire responses

As shown in Table 4, only one significant correlation is found among Internet usage experience, teaching experience and the questionnaire responses. That is, teachers' age had a significantly positive relationship to the "attitude toward using" scale (r = 0.22, p < 0.05). This means that older teachers tended to have stronger willingness to keep using Library-Quest and recommend it to their peers. This finding is quite different from those of several previous studies that reported negative relationships between age and attitude toward using technologies (Lee & Tsai, 2010; Madden, Ford, Miller, & Levy, 2005; Martin, McCaughtry, & Kulinna, 2008). In addition, most previous studies indicated that teaching experience was negatively related to attitude toward using technologies (Lee & Tsai, 2010; Yaghi, 2001); however, in this study, it was found that the experienced teachers had even more favorable attitudes than the inexperienced teachers in terms of using Library-Quest. Therefore, it is exciting to conclude that our approach has been readily accepted by those teachers, especially by those who are older and more experienced. Such a positive attitude expressed by senior and experienced teachers implies that our innovative approach has more potential than other information technologies to be widely accepted by teachers of different ages and backgrounds.

Study 2: The effects of Library-Quest on students' learning performance

To investigate the effect of the proposed approach on students' learning performance, an experiment has been conducted on an elementary school natural science course. Moreover, the learning achievements and attitudes of the participants are measured to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

Participants

The participants were two classes of grade six students from an elementary school in southern Taiwan. One class with 31 students (including 18 males and 12 females) was assigned to be the experimental group, and the other class with 31 students (including 20 males and 11 females) was the control group. Both groups of students were taught by the same teacher. The average of the students was 12. In other words, a quasi-experiment was undertaken for study 2.

Measuring tools and learning procedure

Before the learning activity, all of the students took a pre-test, which was developed by four experienced teachers for evaluating the students' prior knowledge of natural science. The pre-test consisted of 17 yes-or-no questions, 19 multiple-choice questions and 3 fill-the-blank questions. The perfect score of the pre-test was 100.

During the learning activity, both groups of students were asked to answer the four questions concerning the Chiku wetland described before. The time of this learning activity was 50 minutes. The students in the experimental group employed the Library-Quest to search for data to answer the questions. On the other hand, the students in the control group were asked to answer the questions via the traditional technology-enhanced learning approach; that is, using common search engines to search for data from the web.

After the learning activity, all of the students took a post-test, which was developed by two experienced teachers for evaluating the students' learning achievement during the learning activity. The post-test consisted of 5 yes-or-no questions, 5 multiple-choice questions, 2 check-all-that-apply questions and 2 question-and-answer items. The perfect score of the post-test was 30.

The students in both groups were also surveyed for their attitudes toward the science learning activity both before and after the treatment. The science learning attitude measure originated from the questionnaire developed by Hwang and Chang (2011). It consisted of 7 items with a six-point Likert rating scheme, where "6" represented "strongly agree" and "1" represented "strongly disagree." The Cronbach's Alpha value of the science learning attitude measure was 0.94. For example, two of the questionnaire items were "It is worth learning the natural science course well" and "I will actively search for more information and learn about natural science."

Experimental results for study 2

To evaluate the effectiveness of Library-Quest, ANCOVA is employed to analyze the post-test scores of the students by using the pre-test scores as the covariate to exclude the impact of the pre-test. The non-significant interaction of the independent variable and the covariate of the learning achievement test showed that F = 1.92 (p > .05), implying that the use of ANCOVA was appropriate.

Table 5 shows that the ANCOVA result, showing that the two groups had significantly different learning achievements with F = 15.17 (p < .001) after excluding the impact of the pre-test scores. The adjusted mean of the experimental group scored was 20.67, which was higher than that of the control group (i.e., 17.63), showing that the use of Library-Quest was helpful to the students in enhancing their learning achievement in this course.

This study further employed ANCOVA to analyze the learning attitude post-questionnaire scores of the students toward science by considering the learning attitude pre-questionnaire scores. The non-significant interaction of the independent variable and the covariate of the learning attitude scale showed that F = 1.85 (p >.05), implying that the use of ANCOVA was appropriate.

As shown in Table 6, the ANCOVA result was F = 7.38 (p < .01), showing that the learning attitudes of the two groups were significantly different after excluding the impact of the learning attitude pre-questionnaire scores. Moreover, the adjusted mean of the experimental group was 4.88, which was higher than that of the control group (i.e., 4.60), suggesting that Library-Quest approach was able to foster the learning attitude of students toward science.

Conclusions

In the past decades, various powerful search engines have been developed that enable users to search for information from digital archives on the Internet. Such technologies for using and managing digital content have motivated educational applications on the Internet. Most current studies mainly focus on the issue of improving the efficiency of retrieving data from digital archives; nevertheless, one critical bottleneck of applying digital content to educational purposes is the lack of a way of assisting the teachers in conducting quality learning activities to guide the students to use digital content for problem-solving .

In this study, a web-based learning environment, Library-Quest, is proposed to cope with this problem. Library-Quest provides not only an electronic library-oriented learning environment for supporting web-based problem-solving activities, but also a mechanism for analyzing the problem-solving behaviors of the students. From the experimental results, it is found that Library-Quest is readily accepted by the teachers for developing and conducting web-based problem-solving activities. Moreover, there are several interesting findings that are quite different from those reported by previous studies (Lee & Tsai, 2010; Madden, Ford, Miller, & Levy, 2005; Martin, McCaughtry, & Kulinna, 2008). For example, the older teachers tended to be more willing to use Library-Quest, and the experienced teachers did not resist the use of Library-Quest as expected. This finding implies that developing extended learning facilities or functions is a good way to promote the application scope and utilization rate of electronic libraries. In addition, the positive attitude from older and experienced teachers toward the use of electronic libraries in learning is rarely seen in other technology-enhanced learning approaches, implying that electronic libraries have more potential to become a widely used learning tool than other information technologies.

Furthermore, from the experimental results of a natural science course, it was found that the use of Library-Quest not only improved the learning achievement of the students, but also improved their learning attitude toward science. Such findings conformed to what were reported by previous studies that students usually had difficulties in coping with problems in more open-ended environments (Brush & Saye, 2000). Research has concluded that higher degree of learner control may not necessarily facilitate learning, and sometimes it may impede learning (Lin & Hsieh, 2001). Good instructional designs should provide optimal learning control for students. The experimental results suggested that compared to common search engines for free navigation with full learner control, Library-Quest may offer optimal learner control for the students, thus enhancing learning achievements and attitudes.

From the findings of this study, it may be provided some insights for further research. However, this study was conducted using quantitative measures, which may not provide in-depth insights regarding students' problem-solving abilities in an electronic library-based learning environment. Future studies are suggested to analyze students' learning portfolios to find the problem-solving patterns of different learning-achievement students, which could provide important references to teachers for learning design. Moreover, the sample in this study only included elementary school students, and elementary and high school teachers. Future research should attempt to address this issue in other school levels (such as university) for receiving more feedback from both teachers and students.

Appendix A: The final version of questionnaire items

Perceived usefulness (PU)

1. The use of Library-Quest is helpful to students for understanding the questions.

2. The use of Library-Quest would enhance students' ability to search for information when problem-solving.

3. Library-Quest is helpful to the students in solving the questions.

4. Library-Quest provides a good way of problem-solving.

5. The use of Library-Quest makes students have more interest in the course.

Attitude toward using (A)

1. I am willing to use other electronic libraries in the future.

2. I have more willingness to use electronic libraries than before.

3. I will actively look for information from electronic libraries.

4. I hope I can participate in relevant activities like this one.

Perceived ease of use (EOU)

1. It took only a short time to learn how to operate Library-Quest.

2. The designs of Library-Quest's interface fit users' operating habits.

3. The interface of Library-Quest is easy to operate.

4. The search results which are displayed in Library-Quest are clear and easy to read.

Acknowledgements

This study is supported in part by the National Science Council of Taiwan under contract numbers NSC 99-2511-S011-005- MY3, NSC 99-2511-S-011-011-MY3 and NSC 99-2631-S-011-002.

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Pei-Shan Tsai (1), Gwo-Jen Hwang (2), Chin-Chung Tsai (2), Chun-Ming Hung (3) and Iwen Huang (3)

(1) Graduate Institute of Applied Science and Technology, 2Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, #43, Sec.4, Keelung Rd., Taipei, 106, Taiwan // (3) Department of Information and Learning Technology, National University of Tainan, No. 33, Sec. 2, Shulin St., Tainan city 70005, Taiwan // D9622305@mail.ntust.edu.tw // gjhwang.academic@gmail.com // cctsai@mail.ntust.edu.tw // hcm@live.htps.tn.edu.tw // huangi@mail.nutn.edu.tw

* Corresponding author

(Submitted June 12, 2010; Revised July 27, 2011; August 01, 2011)
Table 1. Rotated factor pattern and structure matrices for the three
factors (n = 103)

       Factor 1     Factor 2      Factor 3

Item    P     S      P     S      P      S    Mean  S.D.  [h.sup.2]

Factor 1: Perceived usefulness

PU1    0.91  0.92  -0.05  0.46   0.00   0.41  4.42  1.13    0.65
PU2    0.88  0.89  -0.23  0.25   0.14   0.41  4.72  1.10    0.80
PU3    0.86  0.89   0.18  0.47   0.00   0.44  4.26  1.05    0.77
PU4    0.80  0.87   0.14  0.07  -0.06   0.51  4.38  1.05    0.59
PU5    0.80  0.82   0.20  0.39   0.05   0.32  3.95  1.06    0.80

Factor 2: Attitude toward using

A1    -0.01  0.26   0.91  0.90  -0.06   0.05  4.41  1.01    0.87
A2     0.16  0.37   0.81  0.84  -0.22   0.28  4.37  1.02    0.83
A3     0.03  0.32   0.80  0.83   0.16  -0.04  4.05  1.22    0.81
A4     0.00  0.39   0.71  0.75   0.34   0.43  4.47  0.92    0.70

Factor 3: Perceived ease of use

EOU1  -0.11  0.33   0.06  0.14   0.93   0.89  4.65  0.98    0.73
EOU2   0.07  0.45  -0.02  0.11   0.85   0.87  4.97  0.86    0.81
EOU3   0.20  0.55   0.21  0.35   0.63   0.75  4.64  0.70    0.73
EOU4   0.34  0.55  -0.17  0.02   0.57   0.71  4.84  0.70    0.68

Note. P = Pattern coefficients; S = structure coefficients;
[h.sup.2] = communalities of the measured variables.

Table 2. Teachers' ratings on the scales

Scale                   Mean   S.D.    Range

Perceived usefulness    4.25   0.92   1.0-6.0
Attitude toward using   4.78   0.68   1.0-6.0
Perceived ease of use   4.44   0.89   1.0-6.0

Table 3. Gender comparisons of the teachers' ratings of the scales

Scale                       Gender        Mean   S.D.      t

Perceived usefulness    Male (n = 43)     4.41   0.94    1.51
                        Female (n = 60)   4.13   0.90

Attitude toward using   Male (n = 43)     4.98   0.53   2.75 **
                        Female (n = 60)   4.63   0.74

Perceived ease of use   Male (n = 43)     4.59   0.97    1.39
                        Female (n = 60)   4.34   0.82

** p < 0.01

Table 4. The correlation between teachers' responses to the scales
and their background

Scale                    Age     Teaching      Web      Experience of
                                experience  experience   Web-related
                                                         pedagogical
                                                          practice

Perceived usefulness     0.14      0.12       -0.05         0.06
Attitude toward using   0.22 *     0.18        0.03         0.16
Perceived ease of use    0.05      0.09        0.04         0.05

* p < .05

Table 5. ANCOVA result of the post-test achievement scores

                Group                N    Mean    S.D.

Post-test       Experimental group   31   20.58   3.95
(achievement)
                Control group        31   17.71   2.31

                Group                Adjusted    Std.        F
                                       Mean     Error.

Post-test       Experimental group    20.67      .55     15.17 ***
(achievement)
                Control group         17.63      .55

*** p < .001

Table 6. The ANCOVA result of the learning attitude
post-questionnaire toward science

             Group                N    Mean   S.D.   Adjusted Mean

Post-test    Experimental group   31   4.96   0.54       4.88
(attitude)
             Control group        31   4.53   0.86       4.60

             Group                Std. Error.      F

Post-test    Experimental group       .07       7.38 **
(attitude)
             Control group            .07

** p < .01
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