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Brain Behavior Institute 2009 - The Web and Education



Session 6


The Web as an Educational Tool, Continued

Discussion of

with Dora Wong


Today's Assignment

Add thoughts on the web and education in the forum area below.  Continue surfing, adding to your blog additional relevant materials. 


elovejoy's picture

In today's conversation, we

In today's conversation, we spent a lot of time talking about the use of the internet vs the use of books.  Having access to these materials has a lot of influence on which is used more.  It seems like a lot of people are scared about their privacy on the internet, especially when sharing personal information.  I think this is a valid concern, but I also think that you can't just not use the internet because you are afraid.  It offers so much information and can be used in so many ways without having to give personal information.  But, it is also important to take everything you read with a grain of salt because the internet does not have an editor.  Anyone can post anything they want, and so it is important to make sure teachers and students are using credible sources.  Finding them though, can be difficult.

Deborah Hazen's picture

Textbooks need to be taken with a grain of salt

A Textbook Example of What's Wrong with Education from Edutopia highlights the messy underworld of textbook publishing where Texas rules and the mishmash in the book is a tired mess. At least information I find on the Web isn't bound in a very official and impartial looking book after having been scrubbed by conservative lobbyists to safeguard against any liberal content. Instead, I know that anyone out there can publish anything out there and can teach my students the process of critically analyzing the "story" that they are reading on-line. This is a great life skill right--they need to be able to parse messages from politicians, marketers, different news organizations...

Kathy Swahn's picture

Internet as a tool

Good resource for searching and quick answers.

Not good for anonymity.

Students can get “lost” without guidance/monitoring.

Anyone can add information to the net.

Depending on school district/ home base internet not always readily available.

I have noticed a decline in students’ ability to use books as resources effectively.

Need to help students remember some of what they display on the web they might not want to portray later in life.


Brie Stark's picture

I also think that you

I also think that you touched upon an important point today: not everyone is confident in themselves in order to display their creations to the public, as the internet allows.

Perhaps website creation could spawn more self-esteem for creation and writing?

Deborah Hazen's picture

Web and education

I am thankful for the articulate expression of so many concerns regarding the use of the internet. It was helpful to be reminded that not everyone feels comfortable with the public nature of the internet. When I work with my students I find that I have to remind them that whatever they put out there is very public and forever. They think that it is anonymous undertaking. I was also glad to be reminded that not all schools have the resources to provide equal access to the internet.

I believe that it is important for teachers to engage with the available technology and influence its form and use. Because the internet is a powerful forum and I believe that teaching, at its core, is about helping kids find and expand their place in the wider social discourse--I see discovering the internet with students as an important part of my work.

Someone once told me that during the Civil War new photography technology was used primarily to record risque, pornographic images. If the medium had been avoided by those who saw other purposes and potentials because it was tainted by association, we would have lost a great new technology.

I also believe that it is really important for us to understand just how our students are using the new technology. The MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning from November 2008 is one place to start. Flip ahead to the conclusions and implications section of the paper for a quick look at what kids are getting out of this wired world.

Dora's picture

I really like the

I really like the synergistic use of textbooks and the web together. The web, especially when it is not an immense, well-organized portal that presents cohesive information, often comes up short on the side of organization. By organization, I mean the interrelatedness of concepts, and the textbook authors' perception of which seemingly unrelated ideas have to do with each other. I'm seeing increasingly a larger number of co-authors in college textbooks and the inclusion of multimedia (CD and/or online multimedia) being used as supplementary materials. These have the advantage of being framed in the intended context and being stable for the useful life of the text (at least until the next edition comes out.)

Lucienne Davis's picture

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Wow! This afternoon was a lively discussion to say the least.  My peers ideas and thoughts gave food to ponder. The positive comments and the concerns were well founded.  This all brings to mind something my Mom taught me many years ago.  My Mom taught to that “You can catch more flies with honey” and “Say it nice, so you can say it twice”.  So my idea is to follow my Mom’s simple rules and keep my responses plain and simple.   


Judith Lucas-Odom's picture

This afternoon was very

This afternoon was very interesting in the fact that we need to use the web and it is very helpful.  Dora Wong brought up a good point, that we need to put positive things out there on the web to counter act the negative.   Also, we should not be fearful of what could happen just trust in the Lord that it will not!

Deborah Hazen's picture

Can we think of it as a public park?

I wonder if we can think of the internet as a public park. If we avoid the park because there is some bad stuff going on out there--then we abdicate the park to those who would degrade it. If, instead, we clean up the park, install lights, ceate a neighborhood watch, plant flowers and vegetables, install playground equipment and use the park in large numbers--then it becomes ours and a place that we are happy to visit.

I've been looking, but haven't found it yet--saw an article a while back about how the increase in adult use of Facebook was actually positively influencing the kinds of postings that teens were making on the site---it was losing its Wild West feel and becoming a bit more polite. It was also resulting in some kids leaving FB for the next new technological meeting space. But that isn't so unusual or unique to the web--teens have always milled about looking for a space to be, think and act outside of adult purview.

GShoshana's picture

use of the computer

Is the computer good for the student, or does it create problems?  On one hand, it gives students a way to learn independently, and gives them motivation to learn, especially students who have special needs.  It also allows them to check things and give them the confidence that they can do things independently.  However, it is almost too easy for them to find information.  The students can just copy and paste information that they find without understanding it.  We need to teach the students the skills to do research and to summarize by themselves and not straight from the computer.  Another issue is that students can go to any website on the internet, and so it needs to be very clear to the students that the internet is not always safe because they can access inappropriate information.  The teacher needs to control what the students are viewing and be very strict to make sure they are not looking at inappropriate things.  Overall, it is important to continue preparing students for the future, and the future will continue to use technology like computers and the internet.  Using computers and the internet will prepare them for the future and allow for independent learning.

Deborah Hazen's picture

An option

An option that some schools embrace is to teach responsible use of the internet--really give it time and attention to establish community values rather than controlling what is viewed by students. We teach responsible choices in health class, safe bicycle skills, .... so safe and appropriate internet use seems to come with the territory.

Brie Stark's picture

I'm very interested about

I'm very interested about the "name" on the internet and privacy condition.  On a personal level, I have never thought of privacy as a problem, even as a young woman using the internet.  Brought up in a family of information-technologists, I have been taught that the internet can be a safe, more efficient way to find information.  I have not been disproved upon this, because I have been careful in not producing my address or social security number on the internet.  Unless someone is intent upon finding me, I don't really believe I'm endangering myself in any way, shape or form -- in any case, the internet is not the only way to find me, nor can it be the most efficient way.

I see another facet to using my name on the internet.  I try to publish only work I am proud of and can be held accountable for.  I am confident in what I choose to publish on the internet with my name, and therefore proud of it.  If I am challenged for it, by having published it, I dedicate myself to being involved in any conversation that results from it.  When I publish something, I accept the fact that there may be people who disagree with me.  I think that this is how new ideas must come about: people taking pride in their ideas and having conversations about them.  Is this not another facet of emergence?

The internet is just like a textbook, only more efficient.  It is a way of communication.  If the web had been around when Plato was alive, would not many more people have experienced The Republic?  I think it is a progressive tactic that can be put to good use.  We must be proud of our work and be willing to be criticized.

As we said yesterday, we have to be willing to be uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable, in this case, does not mean threatened -- it means ready to defend what you choose to publish under your name.

Deborah Hazen's picture

I appreciate your sense of pride in what you publish

I'm heartened by your attitude about the Web being a tool that encourages responsibility to do your best work. I am also convinced that as your ideas evolve over time, those who review your body of work will be able to distinguish between the ideas you had in your 20s and those you put forth in your 30s and beyond.


Brie Stark's picture

... a period of growth! Just

... a period of growth! Just as emergence stresses development over conclusions, the Web stresses growth and continuance.

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