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Learning in Cyberspace

Online experiences require planning.  You have done lesson plans before so that is not new.  As in the classroom planning facilitates a great learning experience and avoids a technological disaster.  Like any other lesson there are steps that beginning with your decision of the objective or outcome you want to accomplish with the lesson.  If the Internet offers the best way to accomplish these objectives then "ready, set, go!"

  • Identify the Internet resources you will use in the lesson
  • Visit the sites and check out the "stuff" you need to use
  • Establish the time frame for the lesson
  • How will you check for prerequisite knowledge/skills?
  • How will you manage feedback?
  • What will the final product look like?
  • What will your role be?
  • Check out your resources both hardware and people (mentors)?
  • Do it!  Actually do your lesson yourself.  Try it out.  
  • Now do it with students.  After your finish take time to debrief.  Did you accomplish your goals?  Was the time used wisely?  Did the Internet do it as well as the books in the library might have?  Did you find new sources you did not know existed?

With technology, you need to have back-up.  Eventually and hopefully not the first time you use it, something will not work.  The Internet connection is down or the computer lab is on the blink or some other glitch gets in the way, so plan for problems.  Have backup materials to supplement your Internet activities.  Some students still need to see it in print.  Be sure you give very clear directions.  While some students will be way ahead, others will need lots of support.  Be prepared to have tiered assignments to cover the variety of levels of experience in your classroom.  Those with more knowledge of the machine will need more complex assignments to provide learning.  Novices will need lots of help and will probably not have time for the complex assignment and will need a more basic product for the lesson.  

Keep an eye on the work in progress.  Check to be sure students know what they are doing.  Mindless surfing is unproductive.  Your directions for the assignments are key to the productive use of computer time to accomplish the desired outcome.

How will the Internet change your lessons?

Exploring the Internet offers the opportunity to learn and to change the way the learning takes place.  Roles change when technology is infused into the classroom.

Changing Roles

Students were Students will become
Passive listeners Active learners
Workers with assignments (read page 10 and do the odd questions on page 12)
Teachers (helpers and collaborators)
Tied to the text (Chapter 15 fractions--end of the year) Researchers 
Teachers were Teachers will become
Font of knowledge Coach
Coordinator  Information manager
Dictator Knowledge leader (navigator)
Isolated Part of  learning team


This page was updated on:  04/10/02