Increasing Learning on Internet Assignments
Using the Internet to improve learning can be a difficult task for even the most Web savvy teachers. To help you improve your Internet teaching practices, we offer suggestions for getting more out of your Internet assignments.
This Week's Tips
Allow for Student Choice on Internet Assignments (Monday)
Develop Internet projects that allow students to make choices about the topics they research. This will allow students to feel a degree of ownership in the project, thus increasing their motivation. You can allow them the freedom to choose a research topic, find their own Internet resources, or choose from a list of topics and associated resources. You could also allow them to chose from a list of options concerning the final presentation of the material, including multimedia, oral report, or mediated discussion led by the student.
Go Beyond Fact-Finding on Internet Assignments (Tuesday)
Devise projects that require students to form opinions about the information they encounter on the Internet. Give equal weight to the accuracy of facts found and strength of opinions or arguments formed. The opinion may take the form of a response paper, persuasive essay, or formal evaluation of the quality of the material. Requiring the student to do more than find facts will compel him to interact with the information beyond the surface level.
Require Peer-to-Peer Interaction on Internet Assignments (Wednesday)
Ask students to share information with one another. You may wish to structure lessons that break down information-gathering tasks into easily dispersed pieces. When students share the responsibility of learning with classmates, they may feel more accountable for accomplishing goals.
Reverse Roles with Your Students (Thursday)
Challenge students to teach you something you don't already know about the selected topic. With the Internet, students now have easy access to vast amounts of information previously unavailable. By assuming the role of teacher, they must not only be able to locate new information but also be able to explain the material in a coherent way. The more questions you ask of them, the more they need to solidify their knowledge.
Incorporate an Internet Resource Evaluation Component (Friday)
Require students to spend time evaluating the quality of their sources during the research stage.
As students and teachers are aware, Internet resources can be far less reliable and may be difficult to verify. By requiring students to use formal evaluation criteria, you help them understand basic concepts about the nature of information and discourse.
Related Article: Evaluating Web Sites—Five Basic Criteria