Implementation of higher order thinking in Internet searching in secondary school students

Naseer Mohammed Alomari, Fordham University


This study examined Internet searching patterns in high school students. The study also explored implementation of higher order thinking by beginning, intermediate, and advanced Internet users. Nine high school students, aged 15 through 18, participated in an Internet-based assignment that required them to locate, evaluate, and integrate online information into a written report. The researcher assumed a participant observer's stance and engaged individual participants in a dialogue about searching techniques, strategies, and progress. The participants were paired for a 45-minute session to work collaboratively. Fieldnotes, verbal protocols, constructive interactions, written reports, and attitudinal surveys were collected and analyzed. The findings strongly suggested the existence of distinctive Internet searching patterns in beginning, intermediate, and advanced Internet users. In beginning users' searching patterns, the technical aspects were emphasized more than the development of conceptual frameworks of the topic. Advanced users based their Internet searching on simple conceptual schemes that evolved into more complex ones as the searching continued. Intermediate users were less focused on technical aspects and exhibited the ability to create conceptual schemes. Beginning users had basic knowledge of browsers, were able to develop simple conceptual schemes, and engaged in trial and error in combining technical and conceptual skills. Intermediate users displayed functional skill in using browsers, functional knowledge of how browsing tools can be used to locate specific information, and an ability to focus the search on a limited number of elements. Advanced users used browsers strategically to save time and effort, progressively developed conceptual schemes that tackled specific aspects of the researched topic, and used advanced browsing tools to establish support for their findings. Internet searching patterns matched, indicated, or reflected various higher order thinking processes. The more advanced Internet searching skills a participant had, the more critical and creative thinking processes he or she utilized. Integrating online information into written reports showed that the complexity of the report reflected the schemes developed during the process of information retrieval. Based on the study findings, two hypotheses were generated: (a) Internet searching patterns are authentic indicators of higher order thinking processes and (b) searching the Internet enhances higher order thinking among secondary school students. The hypothesis that Internet searching enhances higher order thinking was based on two theoretical principles: (a) instant feedback and (b) information abundance.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Educational software|Information Systems

Recommended Citation

Alomari, Naseer Mohammed, "Implementation of higher order thinking in Internet searching in secondary school students" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3021692.