University Of Tasmania
Morrison R Official paper AARE 2016.pdf (342.56 kB)

Surfing Blind: a study into the effects of exposing young adolescents to explicit search engine skills

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 13:58 authored by Morrison, R
The Internet provides today’s students with the world’s greatest library. It is in their homes, their schools and even in their pockets. Yet this powerful educational tool, with its practically infinite opportunities, is increasingly going under-utilized research suggests. Several studies report a skill-deficit exhibited by adolescents when using online search engines in particular. Little is known, however, about the potential benefits of exposing students to explicit search engines skills. This paper discusses the findings of a mixed method study exploring the degree to which exposure to such skills affects adolescents’ online searching. It seeks to provide new knowledge by analyzing searching behaviours through a semiotic lens. Semiotics provides the study with a language with which to discuss the changing role of students when using digital technologies and the different communication inherent when using search engines. The study reveals a tendency on the students’ behalf to view their role as subordinate when conducting online searches, and a reluctance to change this view despite intervention. The paper also reports that adolescents are, however, willing to change and attempt to improve their searching behaviours post exposure to explicit skills.



Faculty of Education



Place of publication


Event title

The Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference 2016

Event Venue

Melbourne, Australia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright unknown

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Teaching and instruction technologies