A Teacher Speaks Out: Yes, you should teach Internet skills!

I recently conducted an interview with the classroom teacher upon the completion of teaching TechnoJourney to learn more about her thoughts and ideas about the experience.

Your students just spent the past few weeks completing activities from the technology project TechnoJourney. What was your overall impression of the experience?

I was really impressed with the project. It’s a great computer curriculum. The assignments were easy to follow and the students learned the skills.

TechnoJourney is full of a wide-range of Internet-based activities. You selected several from the technology project to use with your students. How did you make that decision?

Students learn Internet skills using TechnoJourney computer project

The students were engaged and focused in all the TechnoJourney activities.

From all the activities available in TechnoJourney, I chose the following:

  • Visitor’s Center: Safety Booth, Search Engine Station, Favorites Center
  • e-Library: Research Center
  • e-Playground: Webcam Observatory, Arcade
  • e-Media Center: Video Theatre, Image Gallery, Map Collection
  • e-Mail Depot: e-card Shop

I based my choice on what I thought was relevant for my grade 3 students and what skills I knew they would be able to apply in other areas of the curriculum. If I had to eliminate any of the activities, I would probably not do the Arcade again. The students really enjoyed playing the games, but I think they have a lot of opportunity to do that outside of school.

Your students have spent the past few weeks engaged in Internet-based activities. What skill do you think your students learned that is the most valuable? Why?

Learning effective search strategies was most valuable for my students. They learned to identify trustworthy sources on the Internet. I saw them apply these skills in other themes we studied in the classroom. When they undertook their research for both our Oceans project and the Body project, students showed much more independence and asked for less help from me as they were searching for information online.

I often hear that technology skills should not be taught. Do you believe that teaching Internet research skills to your students was a good use of instructional time or do you think they would just learn them on their own?

I definitely think that TechnoJourney was an important use of our time in the computer lab. Not only did the students gain new skills, but I learned a lot too! Learning the search skills formally as opposed to just figuring them out on their own was certainly beneficial. I believe the students will retain these skills more effectively since they’ve explored and tried them out, talked about them during instructional activities, and finally reviewed them when they shared their new skills with another class in our final Internet Tour Guide activity.

TechnoJourney was scheduled for 10 classes, but ended up being 12 classes due to the addition of the Internet Tour Guide activity. At first glance, this does not seem like a lot class time, however, with only one computer class per week the reality is that this technology project has stretched from January to May. That is a lot of time to spend on one technology skill. Are you happy with the pace of instruction?

The students always retained their enthusiasm, so the pace was fine. It seems like a long time to spend on one project, but with all the different parts of TechnoJourney, the students were always doing different activities and learning new things. They were always excited and looking forward to the time in the computer lab.

Students teach each other their newly acquired Internet skills

The Internet Tour Guide activity was a great success using peer to peer teaching.

Would you teach activities from TechnoJourney next year? Why or why not?

Yes, I will certainly teach TechnoJourney next year. I plan to teach it in the first term, so that the students can benefit from using and applying the skills throughout the year. I think the safety guidelines are very important. Next year, before my students use the Internet, we will do these activities to ensure that they are responsible digital citizens.

At the end of the project, your students participated in an Internet Tour Guide activity. What educational value does this activity have on your students?

Students are reviewing and reinforcing the skills as they are teaching them to their peers. I’ve also noticed that the students’ self-confidence has been boosted. They’re very proud to show the other class what they know. This was especially important for some of the students with low self-esteem. I was surprised by how confident they were as they instructed the other students.

In one word, how would you summarize your experience with TechnoJourney?

FANTASTIC!

Other Articles about Teaching Internet Skills using TechnoJourney

Now the Students’ Turn: Reflecting on TechnoJourney
A Teacher Speaks Out: Yes, you should teach Internet skills!
Peer to Peer Teaching – Students Become the Teachers
Internet Tour Guide Activity
Use YouTube Videos in your Classroom
Students Love Google Maps
Review How to Sort Google Images with Your Students
Teaching Internet Skills – The Trust Test
Wikipedia in the Classroom
Bookmarking is a Basic Internet Skill that can be Complex
Metacognition and Teaching about the Internet
4 Strategies for Reviewing Internet Search Results
When Should Students Start Using the Internet?
Should you Teach Internet Skills?

TechnoHella

About TechnoHella

Hella Comat, Curriculum Writer - Hella Comat is a dedicated professional, who has taught in the education system for more than 30 years. As a pioneer of technology integration in Ontario public schools she was one of the first teachers to introduce the internet, video conferencing, web design, and multimedia learning activities to teachers and students in the Halton Board. To inspire teachers to use technology, she has led sessions for the Touch Technology program, ran workshops at education conferences, and sat on numerous advisory committees related to technology-issues. In recent years she taught the Computer in the Classroom course, at York University. Her lifelong commitment to teaching and learning was acknowledged when she was honored as the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Science, Technology, and Mathematics. Hella's contribution to the blog includes entries about the importance of technology integration. Drawing from her in-depth knowledge of technology in the classroom Hella writes about teaching strategies and useful resources that can benefit your practice. In addition, she provides innovative lesson ideas that you can implement into your own curriculum.