Technologies that depend on the web are increasing in popularity both socially and educationally, but there are pros and cons for using these in classrooms.
Web-based technologies have become so popular socially. It has also become rare to find a public or private school that does not utilize the web in some way each day, administratively or educationally.
Just because it is popular, however, is not a sound reason to adopt web-based technologies for teachingю. The best research paper service DoMyWriting assumes that it is useful to consider both the pros and cons before adopting a web-based technology for use in classroom teaching.
Educational Benefits of Web Based Technologies
There are several features inherent to the web that make it ideal for teaching concepts in the classroom. Technologies such as threaded discussion groups, online chats, and presentation software support collaborative learning. Email and newsgroups eliminate limitations caused by distance and support communication with experts who otherwise might not be able to visit the school.
Students are able to access the tools outside of school, which encourages more engagement with the lessons. When students have individual access to a computer they can also learn at their own pace or review concepts they specifically need to strengthen.
Another benefit schools experience from the use of web-based technologies is cost-based. Web-based education is cost-effective. Many institutions are offering web-based education courses or programs in order to save money.
High schools can enroll students in online courses allowing them to offer a wider range of courses without hiring additional teachers or paying for curriculum development. Online tutorials and other resources are also used to supplement, or sometimes replace, textbooks, which reduces the costs of purchasing new printed materials.
Negatives for Using Web Technologies for Teaching Purposes
Since web technologies are dependent upon operational computers, one major con for using web technologies in the classroom is the dependence on technology. Schools may be wired for networking and have access to the Internet, but the cost of maintaining and improving this equipment can make it difficult for teachers to rely on the computers to be available, operational, or even able to support the web technologies desired for a classroom lesson.
There are two other drawbacks related to using web technologies for teaching, potential for poor instructional design, and . . . issues related to student motivation, isolation, and misconceptions about web based education. The potential for poor instructional design can be a lack of preparation, training, or support for the classroom teacher trying to implement the technology, but it could also be a poorly designed or maintained website providing the service. Student motivation is not guaranteed, since access to the web itself can open many avenues for student distraction if the lesson is not engaging or the student doesn’t understand what is expected.
As with most educational teaching tools, there are both pros and cons to using web-based technologies. Benefits include access to technology outside of school and to experts who may not be able to visit the school.
Other pros are the ability to individualize instruction and promote collaborative learning and the potential for cost reduction when offering new courses or replacing textbooks. Negatives include the reliance on equipment that may not be able to be easily maintained or upgraded, the potential for poor instructional design, and keeping students motivated.
How to Choose Online Resources for Students and Classes
The Web is useful for up-to-date information and references for historical events. These five tips will help teachers choose online education resources.
Since not everything on the web is suitable for student or classroom use it is important for teachers to evaluate potential sites before using them. The following five tips will help guide teachers when choosing online resources for use in class or by students.
Check Web Sites for Authority and Currency
Checking a website’s currency, or if the information is up-to-date, depends on the information being sought. Typically, there is a revision date at the bottom of the web page or, for articles such as news reports, it may be located at the top near the title. The date shown should be recent for current events or newer technologies.
When determining authority, consider both the source and the writer. A source such as a blog might initially be suspect, but if the information is about a legal case and the blog is maintained by a law firm it can be considered a good source.
Determine Accuracy and Objectivity of Text
Determining accuracy can be as simple as reading the text; however, it might require further investigation. One thing to consider is if any conclusions are supported by facts found on the site. Another is to investigate any references provided to see if these are accurate.
Objectivity can be more difficult to determine. First, check for any obvious bias. Then, check for emotional or inflammatory language. Finally, ask if the author seems to be trying to sell something or convince the reader of a particular opinion. If it online source fails any of these, its objectivity is questionable and may not be suitable for classroom or student use.
Examine Site for Relevance
The fifth tip is to examine the site for relevance to the lesson and for the class. For example, a particular web quest might be suitable for the grade level but cover too much, too little, or different information than a lesson needs. Or, the information in an article might be accurate and from a reliable source, but at too high of a reading level.
Another relevancy problem is the format of the presented information. Some sites contain many distractions, such as advertisements, that might make it difficult for students to locate the information or stay focused. Other sites might present the information in a video or multimedia format that requires more speed from the school’s network than is available, thus making it unsuitable for use in a classroom.
The web contains information that is useful for students, but it is a teacher’s responsibility to make sure that what is used in class or for student use is appropriate. Five tips for evaluating online resources is to check the site for authority, currency, accuracy, objectivity, and relevance.