Educators, Welcome to the Internet: Now Change the
Jerry P. Galloway
Indiana University Northwest
The best, most immediate opportunity to significantly expand our educational horizons lies in the development of the internet as an education delivery and management tool. This presentation will address the significance of the Internet for educators or preservice educators who may be new to computing, new to telecommunications or new to the internet. Teachers can begin to use the Internet and to setup custom World-Wide-Web pages for use in teaching. In fact, full courses are already being offered on the Internet as teachers use Web-based communication in virtually every subject area.
Internet sites already exist which can provide significant information on virtually any topic across the curriculum. Teachers can plan for students' access with in-class or lab-based computers linked to the Internet. With just a little bit of research, teachers can target a small number of sites for any topic to enhance the day's lesson or to provide outside work for students as homework, projects or research. Of course, in many cases students would be free to access such information on their own often without even having to leave their classroom or home.
Internet sites often have useful links which connect to other sites with links which in turn link to more sites to continually provide an opportunity to explore an almost endless series of resources. Becoming efficient at exploring the Internet in such a manner does require some experience, but students (and teachers) can improve such skills quickly. There are a number of key Web sites which provide search mechanisms designed to find Internet sites on virtually any topic.
Teachers can easily prepare their own relatively simple Web pages for information delivery and other professional activities. HTML (Hypertext Mark-up Language) is the language for programming Web pages and can be easily learned. However, for most, this is unnecessary as there are a large number of authoring utilities which provide easy to use design tools which create the HTML code automatically.
Such pages can be organized around courses, instructional units or topic areas. Teachers can include special links to reach any desired Web sites right on their "home" page for their students to use. Links can be organized around courses, subject areas, assignments, study guides, research tools, etc.
Information can be easily distributed right on the Web page for access by all students at their leisure. Teachers can provide lecture notes, information students need to complete projects, current events, and more. In a recent proposal to the Journal of Technology in Teacher Education (Galloway, G. M., 1997) a model of teacher use is described which outlines three levels of Internet use by teachers. That model is summarized here:
Level one basically involves using the internet to provide supplemental material for a course. Teachers create web pages to contain the syllabus, class announcements, handouts, lecture notes, etc. Students access important information and track changes or updates in course material from home or anywhere. Level one does not require a teacher to have a web page of their own. Teachers can provide students with internet addresses to explore and study in order to enrich or expand the content of the course.
E-mail can be used for students to contact the teacher and other students in the same course or around the world. The introduction of electronic mail to this level marks a change in the type of interaction the student is having with the internet, but when this interaction takes the form of communication at a non-instructional level, it remains a level one use of the internet.
Level two involves teachers' usage of the internet in the actual delivery of instruction. The teacher can use the internet to deliver course activities (assignments, projects, collaborations) to students which have traditionally been provided on paper or a chalk board. Lacking a web page, teachers could still provide level two usage for students by first traveling the information highway to, in a sense, create a map for an activity.
However, teachers are increasingly using their own web pages to provide entire lessons on web pages. This can be done with descriptions of assignments, explanations, concepts, examples, and illustrations. This is where a teachers' web design skills or web support personnel become important factors in quality and feasibility of offering courses on the web. Level two e-mail usage finds students submitting assignments, gathering data and answering questions through the internet. When e-mail usage expands to involve instruction issues beyond the simple forms of casual communication it is described here as level two.
The transition of level one through level two has been one of increasing student interaction with the internet and course content. Level three is an extension of the same phenomenon where students are even more dependent on the internet for course content. Level three could find complete courses offered and received through the internet where teachers and students interact with each other and the material exclusively via technology. Level three could involve a greater technical function of internet tools for interactive lessons, on-line assessment, real-time collaboration and more. That is, Web pages can solicit information directly from the reader (student) and pass it on to the owner (teacher). Indeed, entire tests and such can all be administered on-line.
A recent court case involving an infamous jury decision called for the
judge to issue a ruling. The judge's plan to issue his ruling over the
World-Wide-Web should prove to us all how our current and future society
is so firmly entrenched in and dependent on the Internet. Educators, too,
need to learn to use the Internet as an integral tool in their technological
Galloway, G. M., (1997). A Model of Internet Usage for Course
Delivery. Proposal to the Journal of Technology in Teacher Education
(1998), Society for Information Technology in Education.
Contact Dr. Galloway at ......... email@example.com