The Role of Internet

What's the role of the Internet in schools?
The Internet is a tool for information and communication.
In all of the excitement over Internet, people often forget that it is simply a tool for information and communication. When considering the role of Internet, think about what Internet can do that is difficult or impossible to do with other traditional forms of information and communication technology.
Why Internet?
Let's explore some of the areas where Internet is particularly useful for students and teachers.
Keep Current. When you want to track a hurricane that's moving up the coast or find out what's happening in the latest conflict around the world, use the Internet. It's a great way to keep up on current events. It's also a good way to reflect on history. Try a This Day in History site from an online newspaper or the Park Service.
Virtual Travel. It would be great to take your students on an ocean dive or volcano exploration. However, it's more realistic to take a virtual trip on the Internet. You can be an armchair traveler, go on an interactive field trip, or participate in a simulated exploration. Sometimes you see what has happened and in other cases you see it as it happens. Explore some virtual trips below:
Multiple Perspectives. Textbooks often provide oversimplified, generalized views of important local, national, or global issues. The Internet can focus in on each side of an issue. Students need skills in looking for bias, opinion, and dealing with different perspectives. Explore issues such as the lumber industry, tobacco, exercise, cloning, guns, endangered animals, and recycling.
Information. You need snow to ski. You need data, resources, and tools to make decisions. The Internet is a great source for information. For example, you can find information on the setting of a book like Anne of Green Gables. You can also find original documents such as collections of letters.
Instruction. Tutorials, practice environments, role playing, and simulations are just a few of the instructional materials that are available on the Internet. For example, the Biography Maker will help you create a biography and Japanese Online will help you learn the language of Japanese.
Communication. Interacting online is another good use of the Internet. You can communicate with other teachers, other classrooms, other students, parents, community members, or experts. For example, you could Ask the Geologist.
Collaboration. Teaming with other students is a great way to involve students in global issues and events. For example, your class might participate in Earth Day activities including the Earth Day paperbag project.
Creation. The Internet is really about sharing information. Get your students involved with creating and publishing projects for the Internet. ThinkQuest, Global Schoolnet, and Canada SchoolNet are three good starting points.
Share & Reflect. Drop in on other schools. Learn from the projects that other students have made. Share your class projects with others. The Internet can provide an audience for learning. For example, students in Washington have developed a nature project you might want to explore and replicate in your area.
Teacher Tool. Besides student uses of the Internet, consider ways that teachers can use Internet. Search for information that might enhance your textbooks, television programs, and computer software. For example at the Timeliner site, you can find ways to use the software as well as share projects with others.
The Role of Internet
What's the role of the Internet in schools?

Do It! 

How is Internet being used now?

How would you like it to be used?

List specific ideas for making the transition.