Sunday, January 13, 2013

Task 1.1 - The Internet as a Classroom Resource

Let’s consider the usefulness of the Internet as a classroom resource. Firstly, think about:
·        What is motivation?
·        What motivates you?
·        What motivates your students?  

Schools and classrooms are dynamic, interactive, social places, where teachers and students communicate, share information, and challenge each other' s ideas. Teachers guide student learning by posing problems, encouraging student questions, and offering opportunities for students to find solutions.
The resources and interactions in a classroom depend on the curriculum the class is working on and the beliefs of the teacher and school. There will be times when technology and the Internet make a lot of sense, and there will be times when technical resources are not needed.
Teachers, as always, should select the resources they think best suit their objectives. The Internet basically expands the resources available and decreases the time and location dependencies that can be limiting factors in schools.
It offers powerful and varied ways for students and teachers to interact, manipulate data, and conduct research. Consider some of the non-Internet resources that are traditionally available in schools: libraries, video, film strips, and CDs, to name a few.
Because of budgetary and physical restrictions, schools can only have so many of these. There are documents, artifacts, and books that students in a typical school will never be able to access. In addition, many schools are working with outdated textbooks and materials. But the Net provides access to an amazing number of constantly updated and expanding resources and an incredible wealth of information.
Teachers and students have that same opportunity on the Net today. Students can research information on the Web, discuss what they find with classmates or, if they're using e-mail, with students in another class or an expert in the field they are studying, and when they conclude their research they can publish their work on the Web. (However, effective use of this interaction and research opportunity depends on expert teaching. The range of resources and options students have access to on the Net is staggering. Specific focus and guidance from the teacher is critical.)
The Internet eliminates the need to be in the same place at the same time as the person or resource you are interacting with. There are technical requirements such as a computer with an Internet connection, but other than that, the world is at your door. The potential to have all the educational resources you need at home, at school, or anywhere you have a computer is now there.
This is not to say that the interaction and dynamic of a classroom are going away; rather, they are growing. Away from school students can ask questions that come to mind by sending e-mail to friends, teachers, or content experts. They can research materials at various Web sites and they can submit their work for review from anywhere at any time. The potential to expand students' learning time is tremendous.

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