Saturday, September 03, 2005

Is [ CLASSROOM=LEARNING SPACE ]?

The use of the Web in teaching and learning has been seen as an opportunity to reach new resources that cannot be brought into the classroom as easily. But the web has also produced a change in the concept of the physical space of a classroom, the discussion of [classroom = learning space] is ongoing.
Some teachers devote classroom time to use the web resources as class materials with their students. Others prefer to use the web as an extension of the classroom, and encourage their students to explore on their own, and to engage in discussion forums and other activities.

Do you think the web resources should be used "in the classroom" under teacher's supervision; or "out of the classroom" as an opportunity for self learning and exploration?

36 comments:

Pat Reed said...

I would say resources should be used both in and out of the classroom. If students have an enthusiasm for broadening the learning experience beyond the classroom, I would certainly not restrict that! But there are many benefits in using the web in face to face instruction as well. The web has provided countless opportunities for me as a teacher to extend learning beyond what is available in my textbook or from my own general knowledge.

Norma said...

If I understand correctly, you mean that using the web out of the classroom is a 'self learning' experience as opposed to a homework assignment?

Pat Reed said...

Yes, in the perfect scenario, the web provides an extension of the class, and when using it outside of school hours, it is an extension of the learning experience. It is not, like a homework assignment, just practicing what has already been done in class, but rather enriching and broadening the learning that can take place.

shannonf said...

It is my school's tech policy that students are not to use email or chat sites at school during school time. This would also go for in class use. It is too hard for a teacher to monitor or control. Even if the teacher sits at a computer and watches every entry, it is still hard to control what is said.

For this reason I would not use or encourage the use of these web resources in class or school. If a student wants to use it outside of school that is up the student and parents. I would not want to try and use this resource and then have it suddenly spiral out of control to the point of inappropriateness for school.

CherylCh said...

My personal belief is both. I often have students begin working on a project in class using the Web and require them to continue their work at home. I guide them while they are with me (provide some starting points) and suggest they follow the same paths while working alone. Of course, they usually go home and google whatever topic we are covering and ignore my suggestions. I have not suggested using any forums to my students although I might in the future if I felt it was valuable for something specific. I have suggested students "ask an expert" on certain science websites.

Norma said...

Shannon,
It seems that integrating the web in your class is an impossible task for now. If you had to convince your administrators to change the policy, what would be your main argument.

C. J. Watson said...

I believe that many students have had ample self learning experiences having to do with the web ourside of the classroom. I believe that the classroom should be a guided or directed learning experience. The key issue on the degree of guidance is the age of the student. A 10 year old should have much more guidance than an 18 year old. In theory, the 18 year old will know better where not to go and how to get out quickly if he/she goes their accidently. Another issue is access outside the classroom. In my district, many of my students do not have access at home so they are limited to the computer lab 30 minutes before school and 20 minutes after school for out of class access.

Evelyn Morrison said...

I think web resources can be used in and out of the classroom. Students can start a web related project in class and finish at home or school library outside of class time. The trick with out of class time use is getting the students to use the time for the assignment/enrichment rather than chatting with friends. Our district has a high percentage of students on free or reduced lunch so we can't assume they have access at home. Therefore, I provide lab time during class for web based projects, but this time is limited so I also encourage students to work outside of class as well.

Kim said...

I hate to be on the fence, but I am. I like using aspects from the web in classroom. If we are talking about National Parks, I love to show the webcam at Old Faithful. However, I also like the students to use links on my webpage as a form of reinforcement or enrichment.

Norma said...

Kim,
do you encourage students to use the web for enrichment within the class period or out of the class?

Norma said...

Cheryl,
You give students the basics to do research by themselves, and it is good that they google some topics to find out more. Do you think that you could use a blog like this as a forum?

Steve said...

I believe that web resources should be used "in the classroom" under teacher supervision, primarily because not all students have the opportunity to use the Internet outside of the school. It would be unfair to those students not to include technology in their education. Classroom time can also be an opportunity for self learning and exploration, especially in a computer lab.
Of course, outside of the classroom use has obvious benefits, and I would always try to maximize the potential of this resource to benefit the students who do have Internet access. I would predict that in the not-so-distant future Internet access will be widespread enough to rely less on classroom time, but until then it an important part of the curriculum that should not be overlooked.

Ben Leven said...

Since teachers seem to have less time to get through their daily lessons I would be in favor to having the students broaden their knowledge about a specific topic outside of class. There are times in which we will take a look at some websites in class, but for the most part any discussion forums and other activities about specific websites should take place outside of class time

Rhonda Hall said...

I really think that web resources should be used in the class and as an extension to those students able to access. Putting teachers in a situation where they might need to monitor discussion forums and chat rooms outside of class could present some issues. Teachers might not want to give the time outside of class. Resources might need to be set up for students to use independantly or with parental supervision. I think self learning and exploration is great but I also know the minds of junior high kids,and they might not be exploring material relevant to class content.

Amy Benish said...

Because my course revolves around the use of technology in instruction, my students use the internet in and out of the classroom. I like to introduce web resources to the students and let them run with it. I can say that they find a lot of resources that I haven't come across. That it the great thing about having access to computers in class, the both the students and teacher learn new things from each other.

I have to admit that I do not take enough advantage of the internet outside of the classroom. Even though my students use WebCT to discuss questions from class, I do not utilize resources beyond that. The honest reason is that it is very time consuming. I have so much going on it is difficult to screen out internet resource to find exactly what I want. I do find it extremely important though and hope to devote more time to using the internet outside of the classroom.

patti said...

I agree with Cheryl. I use web resources in the classroom as part of class lessons and activities. Like Cheryl, I try to give the students time to complete the project but there are always those who lag behind for various reasons and thus need to use outside of class time to complete the project. There are also those students who become so involved in the project that they choose to use outside of class time to further research and enhance their project. As Evelyn indicates this can be a problem for students who do not have at home access so I need to be sure there is enough time before a final due date for students to use the library access to complete the project. I also agree with Steve that it is important to use some web resources in the classroom to give exposure to all students, especially those who do not have access at any other time outside of school. In using web resources though, I do not use blogs, chats, or email. As Shannon indicates, our district policy precludes using these communication tools and with the inappropriate use by students, I do not want to be responsible for the misuse. In addition, as Alex and Rhonda point out, I do not have the time in my life to devote to monitoring the use or misuse of these communication web resources.

ferratier said...

I agree that resources should be untilized both in and out of the classroom. However, at least half of my students do not have sufficient access to online resources (even in school) to make blended learning a truly viable option.

Norma said...

Your remarks about teacher time out of the classroom bring me the memory of some examples of courses which provide online resources for students to 1) practice via quizzes that produce automated feedback; 2) revise and enrich the topic of the day, without need of a teacher supervision or grading; 3) provide an introduction to the topic that will be presented next day in class; 4) do their assignments instead of in paper.
Of course these options do not demand teacher's work out of class, but they do require that students have access to the internet.
The most important aspect of this is not the fact that it can be used but the reason why it should be used. If there are no good reasons that persuade the teacher that the internet should be integrated in the teaching and learning process, then there are no reasons for doing it.

Hyung Ro said...

I would say it is dependent on the availability of technology, the maturity of the students, and the culture of the school community. For instance, our school allows students to use their own school issued laptops thorughout the school day. However, there are several instances where cyber-bullying and harrassment became an issue. This was enough to deter or hold off on enabling students to remotely access the web from home with their district owned laptops.

Norma said...

Cyberbulling.. that is a good point Hyung.

Amy Higgins said...

Because not all students have access at home, I use the internet in the classroom. I use it for direct instruction of actual curriculum and also as an extention of those goals. I find that if students don't complete an online assignment in class, most can finish by going to the library during a study hall. These same students would probably not be able to do the whole assignment while at school, so I continue to do these online activities during school hours. I think with the right students and with no access issues, a teacher definitely could have students do these online activities completely by themselves at home.

Cheryl Cheifetz said...

I think I could use blog but I am not sure I a lot of students would use it. My instincts tell me that a handful will use it all the time but others would never log on. 95% of my kids have internet access, but I am not sure how many are allowed to email or blog. Maybe I am naiieve (sp?) in thinking I wouldn't have a lot of participation?

Stacy Krones said...

Web resources should definately be used both in, and out of the classroom. The vast quantity of information that is available on the web creates a learning opportunity that is anything that could be offered by a school or home library.

Geoff Day said...

It isn't, of course, and either or situation. Web resources can and should be applied in both settings. If I could choose only one, I would favor using the web as an extension of the class. The reason is simple, while one can use web resources outside of class, you can't recreate physical proximity when you are not face to face. Therefore, it makes sense to use the class (in the traditional sense of the word) for those things that cannot be accoplished otherwise.

The primary driver of the learning vehicle should be first, the objective and second, the context of the objective. It doesn't make sense to conduct a chat session discussion when everyone is already together in a class (OK, I should probably make that "doesn't usually make sense. There's a good argument than some students are more likely to venture an opinion if they aren't required to speak in front of their peers). By context, I mean the learning situation, physical environment, and available resources. A homework assignment to use the web to reasearch coelacanths is useless if most of the students don't have access at home.

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alex vavouliotis said...

The use of computers and the Web should definitely be used in the classroom. Most students have access to a computer whether it be at home, a friends' house, or even the school library. This means that the majority of students are probably using the computer for recreational purposes outside of the classroom anyway. So while in school and in the classroom, there should be a structured way for the students to use the computers, and to learn new programs and ways of doing things. Once students get to high school the amount of work they will have to do on the computer will be enormous, so the more they learn while young, the better.

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cjohnson said...

I like students to use internet sources both in and outside of the classroom. There are some major advantages to doing it in class in that you can help direct your students and greatly speed up their search. When students do it on their own they often waste time going to sites that are not appropriate or spend hours wading through sites. It is important if having students do search on their own that you teach them some basics about searching the web or you will be wasting alot of your students time.

Bret Helms said...

Using the Internet in the classroom can be very beneficial for students. Many students have not been properly trained on how to use this great tool. Proper training will teach students how to examine whether a website is good or bad. Young students also need to learn there is more than one good website. Many times they find one they like and do not investigate any others.

At the same time the Internet should be used at home as a place of self learning. Many students today know much more about the Internet than me because of the self learning they have done over the years.

Nick Hartz said...

I definitely agree with Alex when she says that students have a great deal of experience with computers in their daily life. However, the experience that they have is usually in non-educational software that is not usually used in the school setting. It is very important for students to learn how to use educational programs on a daily basis so it becomes routine for them. As they get older, they will have more experience with the programs and be able to use them more effectively.

Kristy said...

I agree with Craig and Bret. I try to use the Internet with my students, when it's possible, at school. I think it is very important for students to learn how to evaluate a website for content and credibility. I have done this with my students in the past and I am confident they learned from this lesson based on their comments. If students don't learn these proper evaluation techniques at school it is not likely they will learn them on their own at home. I do think students should also use the web at home, but they need to be careful. Giving them the proper knowledge at school will enable them to navigate the Internet at home in a more useful, efficient way. I do think that the Internet has a myriad of information to offer, but students need to be made aware of how best to use it.

As for using the Internet to engage in blogs or online learning projects at school, although I think these would be wonderful tools to use in the classroom, my school doesn't allow it at this time. If students want to participate in blogs at home on their own, I'd encourage it, but at the same time, I'd caution them to be serious about it and not give out too much personal information that could potentially put them in danger. I think that if students became involved in some sort of blog about their interests, such as music, or a favorite destination they have been to, etc., that it could really be a great opportunity for them to grow, communicate with others, and learn.

Keen Machine said...

Each classroom has different access to technology. Ideally, classrooms would have access at least to a mobile lab to even make technology use inside the classroom even an option. However, most of us are currently relegated to computer lab time that is scarce and scattered. On the other hand, making outside requirements can be hard when considering access. I considered the discussion from Tuesday about how we need to almost make students use computers outside of school, even if they don't have them. However, our school frowns upon that even though we're private. I think it's just being resourceful.
Anyways, using computers in the classroom means an entirely different kind of blending than using them outside of the classroom. There's not that instant connection or teamwork that can be utilized when it occurs outside. Using it in the classroom allows you to explain a concept and then expand on it inside the classroom as the students are thinking in teams and as their brains are already turned on.

Becky said...

Yes, classroom is equal to learning space and the computer is just another tool for learning like a calculator or pencil or text book. It presents different challenges for the instructor than the calculator or text book – but it can be a very powerful learning tool for the student. It flattens the world bringing global information to their fingertips in a manner that we simply didn’t have available to us as K-12 students. Thus learning how to use the computer as a learning tool is imperative.
My experience with technology has brought me to the belief that in each classroom you will have students who are “natural techies” and others who find it intimidating. By using the computers in the classroom you present the opportunity for the techies to share their knowledge and thus “teach” others about computers. In some instances the classroom teacher learns along with the students as they explore technology as a learning tool.

Daniel said...

Well, with regards to the original question : both? It's not an either/or, it's more a matter of what resources are available to students. Student already do use the web on their own time, both for fun AND for homework... when it's available to them. I think the students we need to focus on are those who have limited access outside of the classroom and are 'falling behind' in learning the many ways they can enhance personal knowledge through the web. Those are the students who need information on where they can gain internet access (school, library, etc.) and how they can 'catch up' and learn to utilize methods of self-learning and exploration.

Robby said...

I have used the web as an extension to my classroom many times. We have utilized many differnt sites to broaden the scope in which we find/access information.

It is tought to require use outside of the classroom. Some kids do not have access to computers or the internet. Although our lab is open, the kids often do not have the time to spare during the school day.