Kumar, Muthu (Fall 2004).Learning with the internet . New Horizons for Learning Online Journal. Vol. X No. 4, 12.
The author makes recommendations for teaching students how to use the Internet as a teaching tool. The recommendations on how to effectively employ the technologies and harness fully the new opportunities created by it to promote positive student learning experiences are authentic and practical and should be consciously considered when teaching.
The Internet can be viewed as providing the following three basic types of tools in the educational domain:
Tools for inquiry:
∙ to facilitate finding sources of information appropriate to a task;
∙ working to understand the information resources and;
∙ how the information resources relate to the task, and;
∙ applying this understanding in a productive way
Tools for communication:
∙ communication can be both synchronous and asynchronous and;
∙ take on many forms such as e-mail, mailing lists, newsgroups, chat and
∙ involve communication with students and professionals in distant places,
cultures and traditions as well as facilitating teachers to be in touch
with other teachers
Tools for construction:
∙ promote learning by scaffolding varieties of authentic learning activities
∙ support the development of students' higher-order thinking skills
∙ enable students to demonstrate their conceptual understanding by
constructing products such as web pages
∙ enable learners to regulate their individual learning progress
according to their own experiences and expertise
∙ Enable learners to access a wealth of resources at their own pace and have
meaningful interactions with the content information
∙ are adaptable for both individual and cooperative learning
Caveats that educators need to bear in mind in their attempts to employ the Internet as a teaching aid.
∙ Students often go straight to the Web without waiting for guidance from a
teacher or librarian resulting in students having a difficult time
navigating the Web and locating appropriate information relevant to the
tasks in their homework
∙ Students may also not differentiate between authentic web sites and sites
that contain biased and inaccurate information but masquerade as being
∙ Students must be taught proper evaluation skills
Teachers need to consider practical constraints that might otherwise hinder the desired implementation of lessons:
Locating appropriate information on the Internet requires a variety of skills such as:
∙ ability to use Internet tools (e.g. search engines);
∙ knowledge of search techniques (e.g. browsing through an information
∙ ability to execute the search (Carroll, 1999)
∙ ability to apply Boolean logic rules (e.g., and, or);
∙ an understanding of how information is organized;
∙ critical thinking skills that allow the searcher to make informed
∙ a working knowledge of Internet notations;
∙ abilities such as searching for information;
∙ scanning and skimming information, and;
∙ strategies such as planning, monitoring and evaluating in executing
Can I teach these skills within my classroom?
In my classroom it will be imperative that students learn these literacy skills. I will teach then in order to ensure that my students utilize the true potential of the Internet as a learning aid.
Can I formulate assessments to check for understanding of these pre-requisite skills?
I will formulate some method of ascertaining where my students are in terms of these skills prior to teaching them and formulate a collaborative environment for peer to peer teaching if applicable.
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