Use of Internet in Education Assignment

Use of Internet in Education Assignment Words: 2699

Research on Internet Use in Education Executive Summary: There is emerging research on how the Internet can be an important component of a program that significantly increases student learning. This type of program requires students and teachers to have appropriate access to the Internet and instruction in its use. It also requires changes in curriculum content, instructional practices, and assessment to take advantage of the communication and information storage and retrieval strengths of the Internet, and to appropriately assess the types of learning these strengths engenders.

The Internet, a global network of networks connecting millions of computers and computer users, is a relatively new resource for educators. In fall 1998, 89-percent of U. S. public and private schools and 51 percent of all classrooms had Internet access (Wirt, 1999). The Internet’s rapid growth and dynamic nature has educators asking research questions that are still in the process of being studied. Researchers are only beginning to gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the Internet in the classroom. However, even at this early stage, there is emerging evidence that the Internet provides a variety of valuable aids to education.

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The Internet provides up-to-date information on a variety of classroom-related topics unavailable from other sources. The content of textbook, library, and teacher knowledge is enhanced by this new medium. Computer networks are increasingly serving as an aid to communication and to the storage and retrieval of information. In that sense, the Internet can be thought of as a natural extension of 5,000 years of progress that began with the development of reading and writing, and has included inventions such as the movable type printing press, telegraph, telephone, radio, television, VCR, and communications satellites (Logan, 1995).

Some of the educational research on print materials, telephone, radio, television, and video carry over to the Internet. However, since all of these media are combined on the Internet, this is a new and challenging area of educational research. Never have such powerful aids to communication and to the storage and retrieval of information been made readily available to so many people. However, the Internet is an open system with relatively little control on content or usage. Thus, teachers need to know both the potential benefits and the potential pitfalls of using the Internet in their classrooms.

Goals for Internet Use in Education The ISTE National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) profile expectations for technology use by students. The following examples identify some Internet-related expectations for students in elementary and middle schools (International Society for Technology in Education, 1998). (PreK-2). Use developmentally appropriate multimedia resources (e. g. , interactive books, educational software, elementary multimedia, and encyclopedias) to support learning. (Grades 3-5).

Use keyboards and other common input and output devices (including adaptive devices when necessary) efficiently and effectively. (Grades 3-5). Use technology tools (e. g. , multimedia authoring, presentation, Web tools, digital cameras, and scanners) for individual and collaborative writing, communication, and publishing activities to create knowledge products for audiences inside and outside the classroom. (Grades 6-8). Design, develop, publish, and present products (e. g. , Web pages and videotapes) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom.

Many individual states have developed Information Technology in Education standards that include similar expectations (Developing Educational Standards). As with the ISTE NETS, often the expectations are that students have developed substantial Internet skills by the time they finish the eighth grade, and that they then routinely practice these skills while in high school. The U. S. Federal Government and many state governments have decided that all students should have convenient access to the Internet. A number of federal programs have helped to fund implementation (Four Pillars). Federal aid to etworking and other aspects of telecommunications is currently providing approximately one-third of all of the funds going into IT in PreK-12 education (E-Rate). School reform and school renewal models vary from “back-to-basics” to a heavy emphasis on the thorough integration of IT throughout curriculum, instruction, and assessment (Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory). Even in most back-to-basics types of school reform models there is recognition that the Internet brings a new dimension to communicating over time and distance and that students need to develop basic skills in its use.

Many school reform models focus on a significant restructuring of the classroom and providing students with routine Internet connectivity both in their classrooms and at home. An extreme example of this is provided by laptop computer projects in which each student has a laptop and connectivity to use at home and school (Rockman et al). In brief summary, the Internet plays four roles in school improvement and reform models: Students learn to make use of the Internet as an aid to retrieving information from multiple sources. Students learn to use the Internet as an aid to communicating with and collaborating with people throughout the world.

Students learn to develop web materials, especially as a component of project-based learning that is rooted in constructivism and in cooperative learning. Students learn in an IT-Assisted Project-based Learning environment, with the Internet playing a major supportive role. The next four sections of this paper explore the research on these four major types of Internet use in the classroom. Digital Library Access One measure of the quality of an education system is the nature and extent of the information that it makes available to students.

Guidelines for school libraries and textbook selections assist in maintaining a high standard. These resources along with the teacher’s knowledge have traditionally been the dominant sources of information for all curricula. Internet access is changing this paradigm. A student can have access to a library that is hundreds of times as extensive as the school library. In addition, they gain access to computer-assisted learning and distance education aids to learning. Students can easily access up-to-date information that is not in the textbook and that is not familiar to the teacher.

It is reasonable to conclude that a global library will enhance student learning. Lance (1994) provides a meta-study of the relationship between the quality of school library media centers and student achievement. This meta-study suggests the quality of a media center and the supporting staff correlates directly with student achievement. However, there is surprisingly little research in this area. A much more extensive study on this topic has recently begun under the auspices of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

In many schools, library media specialists and regular classroom teachers now have joint responsibility in helping students learn to access information through the Internet and other sources. The Library Information Online Network (LION [Online]) Simpson (1996) are excellent sources of information for library media specialists and classroom teachers. McKenzie (1995) provides assessment rubrics covering the following seven major components of accessing information. Questioning. A researcher recognizes decisions, issues, and problems when looking at a topic. Planning.

A researcher identifies sources of information likely to build understanding. Gathering. A researcher collects and stores information for later consideration. Sorting. A researcher reorganizes information so that the most valuable becomes readily available to support understanding. Synthesizing. A researcher recombines information to develop decisions and solutions. Evaluating. A researcher determines whether the information gathered is sufficient to support a conclusion. Reporting. A researcher translates findings into a persuasive, instructive, or effective product(s).

Communication via the Internet It is easy to learn to use the Internet to do Email. In some sense, Email is like having a person to person telegraph system—without having to learn Morse code. Thus, students can begin to communicate via Email as soon as they develop rudimentary reading and writing skills. Email interaction with both local and far away friends and acquaintances can be quite motivational in improving one reading and writing skills. Of course, the Internet provides much more that the simple exchange of Email messages as an aid to communication.

Here are three additional important educational uses of the Internet: Internet relay chat. Students interact with each other in “real time” (Simpson, 1999). Increasingly, the interaction includes text, sound, and video. Collaboration on projects. Students work on projects with national and international partners. The International Education and Resource Network is a non-profit organization that facilitates tens of thousands of students throughout the work in interacting on Email-based projects (I•EARN). Distribution lists.

A distribution list is typically set up so that a restricted list of people receives the messages. Typically only a restricted group of people (the list moderator, or perhaps only the people on the list) can post messages to the list. For example, a distribution list might be all of the students and staff for one class, with only the teacher and the teacher’s assistants being allowed to post to the list. Developing Web Documents Hypermedia that includes text, sound, graphics, video, color, and interactivity is a new form of communication.

Students of all ages can learn to both “read” and “write” hypermedia. Note that we have 5,000 years of experience in teaching reading and writing of hardcopy text, and we still do not have agreement on “the best” way to do this. What there is an extensive literature from practitioners describing how they teach students to read and write hypermedia, we are a long way from having definitive research in this area. The Web is a unique form of hypermedia reading and writing environment. Research indicates that students benefit from learning to author Web documents (Smith, 1993).

In the process of developing an effective Web site that includes text, sound, graphics, video, color, and interactivity, students develop skills that make them more effective users of Web sites. In addition, as the Web developers needs gains an awareness of technical issues such as varying download times, they learn to use the Internet for their own research uses with better results. Many of the practitioner articles about student use of the Web indicate that students are often highly motivated by the opportunity to create Web sites.

Often such articles discuss ideas on students developing Web sites as part of a project-based learning assignment. IT-Assisted Project-based Learning Project-based learning (PBL) has long been a part of the repertoire of many teachers. Blumenfeld et al. (1991) provides an excellent summary of the research literature supporting PBL. In brief summary, in the hands of an appropriately prepared teacher, PBL works well and leads to increased student learning. Equally important, IT-assisted PBL provides an efficient vehicle for helping students to learn to make effective use of the Internet and to learn to attack interdisciplinary problems.

IT brings a “two for the price of one” dimension to PBL. Students using IT in PBL learn both the IT and the disciplines being focused on in the PBL lesson. Significant gains in students learning can occur in this environment (Sandholtz et al. , 1997). An IT-assisted PBL lesson has multiple goals (Moursund 1999). Four of these that are relevant to use of the Internet are quoted below. Research. The project requires use of research skills and helps students to improve their research skills. Higher order thinking skills.

The project is challenging and has a focus on students improving their higher-order thinking skills, Information technology. Students increase their knowledge and skill in making use of information technology to carry out the work in a project. A project may include a specific goal of students acquiring new knowledge and skills in information technology. Community of scholars. The entire class—student, teacher, teaching assistants, and volunteers—becomes a community of scholars, working together and learning from each other. Often this community of scholars expands to include parents, students from outside the class, and others.

Concerns and Considerations The Internet is not a panacea for all of the problems facing our educational system, Here are three major concerns and considerations in use of the Internet in education. 1. Inappropriate People and Information The Internet is an open system providing access to people and information throughout the world. Much of what can be accessed might be considered to be “inappropriate” for access by young students. However, there is no universally agreed upon definition of inappropriate. Standards vary from location to location and from person to person.

Thus, it is not surprising that a variety of approaches are being used to address the problem. The following examples identify three widely used approaches being followed by various schools. Only allow students Internet access under strict and careful adult supervision. Require that student access to the Web be filtered through blocking or filtering software designed to prevent access to inappropriate Web sites. There is a substantial amount of literature discussing the pros and cons of blocking software. Before schools provide Internet access, many schools and libraries require the installation of blocking software.

A good starting point for finding information on this topic is to search the Web using one or more of the common search engines available for this task. Educate students and their parents about what constitutes appropriate and acceptable use of the Web, e-mail, and other components of the Internet. Require parents and students to sign an Acceptable Use Policy. Information about Acceptable Use Policies and sample policies are available at the SEIR•TEC web site. See also the Responsible Netizen site. Each of these approaches has strengths and weaknesses.

It is unlikely that we will ever have definitive research strongly supporting one approach over the others. 2. Learning the Internet Takes Time The research evidence indicates that both students and teachers take a significant amount of time to learn to make effective use of the Internet (Hinchliffe, 1996). Research indicates that teachers are usually surprised at how much student learning time is require before students begin to make effective use of the Internet to learn other subject areas (Department of Education). This conclusion is not surprising, and it contributes to two problems.

First, the curriculum in most schools is already over crowded. Increasingly the curriculum has a focus of preparing students to do well on various tests that have little or nothing to do with using IT effectively. Second, most teachers lack the IT training and experience that is needed to make them comfortable in working with students who are routinely using the Internet and other IT. This second difficulty explains why so many research reports emphasize the need for more professional development (Presidents Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology). 3. The Digital Divide

As Internet use becomes a routine tool in business, government, and education, there is growing concern about the “haves” and the “have nots. ” This is now called the Digital Divide problem. There are significant differences among various states and various school districts within states in terms of providing Internet access to students. The Digital Divide is currently an important political issue (Digital Divide Network). There are major differences between at home access to the Internet between lower income households and higher income households (Benton Foundation; National Telecommunications and Information Administration).

In some school districts, well over 80-percent of students have Internet access at home. In others, under 20 percent of students have Internet access at home. In any case, teachers and schools need to make effective use of this at-home resource as part of their overall plan for helping students achieve high standards in education. As an example of what can be done, there is increasing emphasis on keeping schools open outside of the regular school hours, and using schools as community centers. This can serve as a vehicle for providing Internet access and other IT access to students who lack such access at home.

Schools and the Internet The Internet provides a valuable learning environment and can be a major vehicle for school improvement. The Internet provides students and teachers with improved access to people and information. This improved access can serve as an underpinning for significant changes in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Ongoing professional development and substantial technical support at the school level are essential to achieving these educational improvements. for more information contact Hamzat Azeez tunde 2347033207499 or 08054137354

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