The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of the internet use in American Schools. How educators use the internet to teach our children and how children learn using the internet. Research Using Internet The internet is an important tool for students to find and access information ranging in every subject they are learning. Understanding and using internet and other technological tools can enhance the quality of education our children receive.
Research has shown that 87% of all youth between the ages of 12 and 17 use the internet, of those youth 78% use the internet at school. (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2005) The internet is a very interactive medium for students to quickly access up to date information from around the world. The web sites are designed to encourage the user to delve deeper and deeper into the site, allowing them the ability to navigate through the information at their own pace. Links on one web site often lead the user to additional web sites containing even more information of the subject.
The internet allows students and teachers to collaborate with individuals around the world and at any time of day, which gives them a different viewpoint or perspective on topics and exposes them to different populations, cultures and beliefs. Teaching Using the Internet Integrating the internet into the teacher’s curriculum gives them an almost limitless amount of information ranging from text, audio, video and still images from around the world. Teachers also have the ability to save the information to the hard drive for future projects or discussions.
Ready access to millions of web pages of data represents a major breakthrough for educators. The internet provides instant access to news and events as it is happening. Web sites are updated constantly to provide visitors with current information. An example of a project here in Florida: teachers have hurricane tracking project where students check web sites many times a day or week to construct maps that show the path, current position, strength and heading of an active storm. This gives the students a sense of empathy for the individuals in the path of the storm and is important for growth in scientific knowledge.
Obstacles of Internet The expense of maintaining access to the internet is what schools face today. It is costly to wire the buildings, not to mention the cost of the computer equipment. Most school systems simply do not have enough computers to provide internet access for all their students. Many schools own computers that are too old and slow to adequately access the internet or lack the memory required by modern web browsers. These older computers either need to be upgraded or replaced for the students not to waste time searching for the information.
New equipment also becomes obsolete within only a few years leaving the schools with the problem of upgrading their systems often. Technical support for these systems is a costly problem also. Schools can not simply plug a new computer in and expect it to work every time a student sits down to do a lesson. These machines require trained technicians to configure them and troubleshoot the variety of problems that occur in every day usage. Many schools install these complex systems but fail to provide the funds needed to successfully maintain them. Objectionable Material on the Internet
With millions of web sites on the internet teachers have to constantly watch for objectionable materials. There is filtering software that can solve some of the problems but even that does not always work properly. Accidental encounters and intentional encounters with this material by students can leave teachers with the task of refocusing the students to the lesson while learning comes to a halt during the time. Advertising is also a problem for teaches, students click on the ads which takes them away from the site needed for study and then learning stops during that time.
Reliability of the information is also an issue for the students, they may think because the site has fancy graphics and good design that it is official, even if it is not. Teachers rarely have extra time needed to properly locate the useful information and sites leaving the students on their own to search through the material and find reputable sites themselves. Successful Practices Teachers take advantage of the information found on the internet to create project ideas and relevant and appropriate curriculum materials.
Most teachers will research and bookmark appropriate web sites for their students to visit saving valuable time in the classroom. Students simply go directly to the bookmarked sites to the subject being researched. Students can also connect to these sites in places other than school, like home, without interruption. How the teacher organizes the research is critical to the lessons. The student’s lessons should include outlines, question sheets and note taking activities to help collect the enormous amounts of information.
Also the students need to learn how to utilize the information they have collected to complete the lesson, without proper knowledge the internet can get overwhelming and you loose site of the topic you are researching. Overall the internet is a very useful tool for students to gain knowledge in every subject. The possibilities are endless on what can be searched using the internet, new web sites and data is added constantly so up to date information is ready available at all hours of the day. The internet has revolutionalized the way humans think and learn.
It has made the world a much smaller place to live with the ease of web search travel every where on the planet. Children and adults in America can have friends they visit with every day in a different country. The World Wide Web is making studying and learning fun again. I feel children learn easier when they can have a hands on approach to something. The way we interact with other people has changed also, with families being spread all over the country or world it is as easy as clicking your mouse to see them and speak to them when ever you want instantly.
The internet has made it possible for even the most resource poor classrooms around the world to connect and learn the way every child should. ? References Pulliam J. D. and Van Patten J. J. , (2007) History of Education in America (9th Ed. ), Upper Saddle River, N. J. Lipinski M. (1998) Some Thoughts on the Use of the Internet in Schools http://www. fi. edu/fellows/fellows3/act98/intex. htm Hitlin P. and Painie L. (2005) Pew Internet and American Life Project Hou F. H. (2003) A Research on the Impact of Internet Use in American Elementary School Libraries http://research. dils. tku. edu. tw/joemis/ Taiwan