University of Oulu

Kokkola, L. & Nordlund, M. Searching in the Wild: Swedish Teenagers’ Online Searching during English Lessons. Digital Culture & Education, 14(4), 149-165. Available at:

Searching in the wild : Swedish teenagers’ online searching during English lessons

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Author: Kokkola, Lydia1; Nordlund, Marie2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
2Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Digital Culture & Education, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-24


All school leavers should have efficient online searching skills, defined here as the ability to select suitable search terms, feed them into a search engine, and make active decisions about which options to open from the results page. An additional element in our study includes the ability to search in English. As less than 1% of the Internet is in Swedish and about 60% is in English, this study assumes that Swedish school leavers will need to be able to use both languages. The study provides a qualitative, naturalistic account of the searching activities of Swedish teenagers in English classes from Grade 8 through to English 6 (ages 14‐18 years). Screen recordings from normal English lessons were analysed and supplemented with stimulated recall interviews with 40% of the pupils. The study reveals low levels of ambition and limited digital competence combined with high levels of confidence. Most pupils were unaware that they could have achieved more. The same pattern emerged across four school years in eight different classes. We conclude that improvements in digital competence education require more modelling of skills such as searching, so that teenagers recognize the value of aiming high.

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Series: Digital culture & education
ISSN: 1836-8301
ISSN-E: 1836-8301
Volume: 14
Issue: 4
Pages: 149 - 165
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: This study was funded by the Swedish Institute for Educational Research, grant 2018-00042.
Copyright information: © 2023 The authors. All DCE content is distributed under a Creative Commons open access license (CC BY-NC-SA).