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The Internet is an awesome tool for teachers in the 21st century. Along with saving time for students and teachers, the Internet provides a vast variety of information that was previously next to impossible to reasonably obtain. There are sites for creative learning methods, communication, and travel. Using the Internet in the classroom is a priceless tool, and there are a variety of topics that help enable learning online.

Teacher Research and Idea Sharing

Teachers have long been attending conferences and workshops to learn how to become more effective educators. These conferences allow opportunities for teachers to network as well as update their teaching methods. While conferences are still important, a teacher’s schedule might not always accommodate for attending conferences. Websites for sharing information accomplish the mission of a traditional conference, and the information is available at any time. Additionally, the Internet is an quick and easy place for teachers to conduct their research for lessons and find information about what they are teaching.

Student Research

There are many sites on the Internet for students to research information for class. In the past, students had only one option, to find books that pertained to the subject that they needed to learn about. Now, in addition to books, a student can use a search engine or go to a site to gather the information that they need. In addition to time and ease, an advantage of Internet research is that sites are generally more specific than whole books.

Reviewing Concepts

There are many creative ways for students to learn. When students have fun learning, the learning is often natural, and they tend to retain information a lot better. The Internet provides opportunities for students to review concepts they learn in class. Fun activities for student learning online include quizzes, challenges, games, and trivia questions.

  • Fun K-12 Quizzes – Online learning center for K12 students; includes educational resources, educational websites, and practice tests for state exams.
  • Vocabulary Games and Resources – Vocabulary and review games/materials for younger students.
  • High School Resources – Resources geared towards older K12 students; includes English, math, science, and history resources.
  • Fun and Educational Kids Games – Students can practice their learning skills and subject knowledge with these games; meant for a younger audience.
  • Interactive Websites For Students – Helpful student review and reinforcement materials based on subject matter.
  • Webquests – Incorporate an interactive webquest into your curriculum to engage and reinforce class concepts.

Utilizing Primary Sources

The Internet allows for students and teachers to find resources with efficiency, including original works and documents. Teachers now have easy access to historical documents, information and pictures of artifacts, digital copies of letters and diaries, autobiographies, and many more primary sources that can be used to teach. Students are able to get an authentic learning opportunity through interaction with these direct sources available online.

Cyber Field Trips

Cyber field trips give students the opportunity to “visit” various venues without ever having to leave their schools. This saves an enormous amount of time, and money. These cyber field trips also help students focus on the subject or object to be learned, without the distractions of a brick and mortar field trip. “Visiting” venues online also opens up worldwide possibilities that would not be available to students normally.

Video Streaming

Video streams are akin to watching a television program on the Internet. Educational video streams offer the visual excitement of a television show. Because these streams are online, the programs are available at any time of day. This offers teachers more flexibility in their daily schedules and lesson plans.

Meeting the Needs of All Learners

Teachers have to be sensitive to the fact that students learn at different paces. Students also have different strengths and weaknesses. Teachers can use Internet resources to help address the strengths and weakness of all of their students. Using these resources may help to set students up for success.

Class Websites

Class websites are a teaching method for teachers to students and parents. Teachers can use these websites to expand upon what they are teaching in the classroom. These sites are a means of reaching out to students and they can clarify and give direction about lessons to parents.

Discussions

A great way to ensure that a student is retaining information is to get them personally engaged. They become engaged when they have an avenue to talk about their thoughts and ask questions about what they are learning. Online student discussion sites are a wonderful way to facilitate this. Students can communicate with each other and with teachers on these sites.

  • WebBoard - Create a discussion board for your class.
  • Blackboard - Blackboard is a popular class management and student discussion board used in colleges and universities throughout the country.

Student Email

Students need a way to receive fast communication with other students, teachers, or other entities. Student email services are great ways for students to have an avenue to receive these types of communication. The great thing about student email addresses are that the servers are usually fire-walled to protect youngsters from various Internet threats. These email addresses can also protect kids from predators from obtaining any of the child’s personal information.

  • U-Mail – U-Mail is an easy to use program available to students.
  • Student Email Accounts – Email services for younger students, parents, and teachers to make communication and the use of technology easier.

Global Learning

Today’s technology opens up classrooms in ways that were unimaginable in the past. Who would have thought that student could not only learn about other students around the world, but they could actually communicate with them? All that is needed to literally open up a student’s world is a webcam. Hosting a webcam session with another classroom or location around the world leaves a lifelong impression in the minds of students.

  • Partnership For Global Learning – Get involved in the global learning movement and expand your student’s learning experience.
  • Link Kids Around The World – Younger students can better understand the world around them with global learning.
  • Lessons Plans Developed By the Peace Corps – Lesson plans and resources for classrooms exploring global learning and world cultures.
  • E Pals – An educational network dedicated to connecting the K12 teaching community.
  • Global Learning Solutions – Learn about the basic principles of global education, and how it can benefit students.
  • One World Classrooms – An innovative global learning program that connects students around the world with the common goal of learning about and exploring different cultures.

Sharing Resources

The Internet not only makes it easy for students to search for and find the most up-to-date information on almost any topic you can imagine, it also allows them to share their findings and collaborate with each other easily. E-Mail, Social Media, Shared documents and more, let students share, comment and collaborate on their findings, which promotes cross pollination or learning, by making it easier for students to share their findings, and effectively educate one another as a project progresses.

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