Saturday, September 8, 2007

Internet in schools

Part of ICT that is growing rapidly is the use of the Internet. Unfortunately, at present, usage of the Internet has been allowed, in many schools, in an ad hoc fashion due to the rapid expanse of the Internet. It is imperative that schools develop guidelines, school policies and strategies for the use of the Internet and students are made aware of these. Some schools require pupils to sign a contract regarding the Internet usage. A study in New Zealand found that there was no secondary school in New Zealand that not had pornography sites accessed (TV 3 News 2002).
The Internet provides areas that can be used effectively by students and teachers in the teaching and learning situation such as Web Quests , ‘Virtual Learning’ sites, instructional sites with drill and practice or tutorials as well as being a place to use research skills in order to locate information relating to a topic or problem. Skills needed to use this technology are important in the classroom as it opens up information hitherto inaccessible in the classroom. Of course the amount of information is vast and an important information literacy skill required of all users is the ability to sift through and extract relevant information as well as being able to decipher fact from fiction. We now find that there is a danger of ‘information overload’. Limberg (1999) found many students had difficulties in distinguishing what was important since much of the information the students found was not important or was irrelevant to their needs. The skills required for this are able to be taught during as part of the Action Learning Model when students are required to extract relevant information for their needs.
The Internet provides opportunities for communication through using email. Email provides opportunities for skill building as in, checking the email regularly, making sure the messages are grammatically correct, making sure messages are spelt correctly, using short concise paragraphs with a line space between each one, signing off each letter with your name, using a signature at the bottom of the email message, and email etiquette such as not writing in block capital letters.

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