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Integrating the Internet

Concerns and Issues

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It is important to consider problems that might arise when integrating the internet and technology into the classroom.

Concerns

1.Time
Objection: Teachers hardly have enough time to do all that is expected of them as it is. Where do we find the time to implement this into the curriculum without 'wasting time'?

Possible Solution: Teachers have to do what works for them. The internet, just like any other technology, is a tool. Many times information can only be passed on through books and lectures. However, if you feel that integrating the internet is important, just try one project each year.

2. Cost and Available Equipment
Objection: School Districts do not always provide a large budget for technology. Many schools don't have the necessary equipment. Some aren't connected to the internet.

Possible Solution: If your school district is not supportive or unable to provide technology, you can turn to corporate sponsors and grants. Sources of Grants. If you would like information to help you write grants, read Grant Writing Tips.

3. Knowledge
Objection: Learning about new technology and the internet is confusing. You will be teaching with something you may not completely understand.

Possible Solution: Hopefully most districts have instituted an inservice plan to help acclimate teachers to the web. Barring this, there are some online help sources.

4. Quality
Objection: Quality on the internet is not guaranteed. It is easy to run a biased and inaccurate website with no regulation whatsoever.

Possible Solution: First, when you are thinking about having your students research a topic, do a search to make sure the information is available. A lot of time is wasted searching for obscure topics on the web. Second, review websites either on your own or with your students. Here is a great site with information about evaluating web resources.

5. Plagiarism [/br]Objection: When students research off the web to produce a traditional research paper, it is often difficult for teachers to tell if it is plagiarized. Not only that, but students can BUY papers off the web.

Possible Solution: First, educate yourself. Find out what's available. Here are some resources with which to start. Also, a solution that works well is oral defenses. Students answer questions I pose and must be able to explain their findings. If nothing else, they have to learn what they have stolen (or bought) off of the internet.

6. Cheating
Objection: There is nothing stopping students from cheating with each other while on the internet, especially if you are giving online assessments.

Possible Solution: First, cheating off of each other has always existed, but the internet seems to make it easier. Many schools make the sending of emails and instant messages against the school code because of possible abuses. Therefore, if students are caught using these during an assessment, they would not only be guilty of cheating but also of violating school rules.

Second, if online assessments are given, watch students carefully because they could switch back and forth between the test and web pages that might give them answers.

7. Parental and Community Objections
Objection: The internet is full of items that most parents would rather keep away from their children: pornography, foul language, and subversive information are examples. Parents and community members might fear their children would be able to access this information if given the opportunity to use the internet at school. Also, if students' work is to be published on the internet, it might be necessary to gain a parent's approval.

Possible Solution: Unlike public libraries, school libraries have the ability to restrict what is viewed on the internet. Students caught accessing information that is questionable can be subject to disciplinary action. Libraries would be wise to make sure that computers with internet access are easily observable in order to monitor student activity. Classrooms pose a different problem, however. If students are using the internet, the teacher needs to check and make sure they are not accessing questionable material. Fortunately, teachers can look at the 'history' of what was accessed on the internet. If there is any question whether a student was viewing something that was inappropriate, it is a simple matter to check the history file and see which pages were viewed.

As far as publishing student work, a simple permission form should work. Check with your school district to see what their policy is. Even if they do not have a set policy, you might be wise to get a parent's approval, especially if the student is a minor.

Is it Worth it?

Do all of the objections mean that we should not use the internet in the classroom? No. However, we must address these concerns before we fully integrate the internet into the classroom. The effort is definitely worth it because the possibilities are endless!

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