Purpose of This Site
This site grew out of an effort to link the Internet directly to classroom content at the middle and high school levels. It is aimed at people with varying Internet skills ranging from those who surfed the Internet to those who have their own websites. In the main, the Internet is used as a research tool for students completing assignments such as papers, presentations, and other projects. All of these are linked to classroom content, and are an appropriate use of the Internet. But, research is only one use of the many that are possible for this tool. Looking passed research and other special projects for a use of the Internet in the classroom three questions need to be posed each of which will be answered in detail later:
- How can a teacher link the Internet and day to day classroom content, and routine?
- Why, what are the benefits for students and teachers?
- How does a teacher get started?
In the pages that follow is an example that demonstrates a direct link between the Internet and day to day classroom content, and routine it is called The Launching of a New Constitution. It is a complete unit on The Constitution of the United States of America, and uses unique question sheets on every article and section in the Constitution (please see Acknowledgements). Plus, it provides lesson plans for each lesson and more. This example will be used to help answer the three questions posed above.
How can a teacher link the Internet and day to day classroom content, and routine?
To link the Internet and day to day classroom content it is necessary that any school have two things. First, at least one computer lab, or computers in the library. Second after school hours, so that all students have access to the Internet. A teacher working in such a school would then make a class or subject site for each class or subject that she teaches. These class sites are like folds on a hard drive. Just where and how to get the computer storage space needed in terms of MB’s will be outlined in the section: How does a teacher get started? Let’s say our teacher has the storage space, next she must decide on what parts of the content and classroom routine she wants to put on the Internet. It could be anything having to do with the above from a class syllabus for each class with due date for assignments, class rules to complete units with worksheets and class notes, and lesson plans as in The House and Senate Lesson Plan which is part of the above example.
Our teacher wants to go all out, she wants to put a class syllabus for each class with due dates for assignments, class rules, and complete units with worksheets and class notes on the Internet. But, time is a problem, how long will all this take? Even if she just surfs the Internet it will not take long to design a site and upload content to it. Our teacher would make up all worksheets and class notes just as she would to handout and present in class, in some word processing program MS Word for example. Putting worksheets and class notes on the Internet does not take the place of hard copies of worksheets and hand writing notes classroom. Then, after saving them as Word files she can go to (Save As) and save them as HTML files, then upload them to the class sites. She will need at least one HTML file for each class site (see Contents). The need for some HTML Code will be covered in: How does a teacher get started? Some files such as charts, small worksheets of twenty questions or less, and Powerpoint presentations can be more useful if left in their program format (see Contents). So, how long does this take? About four hours to design the site for the first time, and after that it takes no time to upload content. Since, in all cases, the content is class work adding to the site gets faster. (To Top)
Why, what are the benefits for students and teachers?
Our teacher has the unit on the Constitution up and running (see The Launching of a New Constitution.). Now, the content of her class lessons, and notes are on the Internet, how does that fact benefit students?
- Absent students now know what they are missing, and since worksheets and notes are on the Internet they have an opportunity to at least review what was covered in class before they come back. Thus, they will be lost, and they may even do one or two assignments. So as to not be as far behind when they come back.
- Students who need more time to take notes will have it. The notes are on the Internet, and look just as they did in class. They can access the notes after school in the computer lab or the library, and from home. They will still have to copy the notes by hand to get a notebook grade. Unless a student has a physical disability that makes it difficult for him to write.
- Students that have difficulty writing can now type their answers to worksheets questions by going to the class site on the Internet, and copying the worksheet then paste it in a some word processing program like MS Word with vary little change in page layout.
- Now that classroom content is out on the Internet, students have another way to review it as often as needed.
The benefits for our teacher aside from the above are:
- Placing content on the Internet should, in theory, cut down on the amount of late work she has to grade due to absence or lost papers and/or notes.
- Such content allows parents to keep up with assignments that are due, and email questions.
- She now has copies of all content that she put out on the Internet, which can be shared with teachers world wide. (To Top)
How does a teacher get started?
Let’s say our teacher has a computer lab with after school hours for her students, and a computer in her classroom connected to the Internet, plus a computer at home for her use. But, the school has no space for her website on their server, or does not have a website. No problem, there are many places on the Internet that give people free website space. As for the need to learn some HTML code, there are times that worksheets will be very long or in packet form, so using HTML code will make long worksheets easier to work with (see Article One Questions Part Two). There are many books, websites, and programs that dealing HTML code. The best Book is Teach Yourself HTML in a Week, it gives a step by step clear understanding of the basics of HTML code. There so many websites on the Internet the cover HTML code that one need only search the Internet to find a site that works for her. MS Word and Expression Web are two good programs for website construction. Word allows one to save documents in HTML format, but it does have limits. Expression Web on the other hand, writes code as one types, and allows one to use many kinds of backgrounds, sounds and other interactive media as part of a website. Whereas Word allows only text and pictures.
This site stands as an example of how link the Internet directly to classroom content at the middle and high school levels, but it is not the only option. The hope is that it will lead to the exchange of ideas on this subject. (To Top)