Here are nine ways to bring web-based projects alive in the classroom:
- Don’t force computers where they don’t belong. Think about which courses or topics are appropriate for using computers. Start slowly, and make sure students are not pressured to use the equipment.
- Set clear goals. The objectives can be set by individual teachers, follow the suggestions of internet experts, or be based on district, state, or federal standards. Regardless, the objectives must be clear.
- Be realistic about time. Don’t try to do too much, especially in early forays into technology-supported learning. But don’t drag out a simple assignment to the point of boredom, either. It’s important to remember that the web encourages experimentation and serendipitous learning, so leave extra time for these activities.
- Use the technology that is available. Don’t lament what you don’t have. Make sure you know how to use what you do have. In preparation for a classroom exercise, test the technology that is at your disposal. Work out the kinks and surprises. Then, be ready to incorporate new technologies as they become available.
- Concentrate on what is real, rich, and relevant (the 3 “R”s). Remembering these ideals will help you develop projects that engage students. Many web sites offer wonderful lesson plans that meet these standards, especially the WebQuest series.
- Encourage online collaboration. Students need to learn to move beyond their sometimes-limited worlds, and the web offers unique opportunities to do so. Consider whether mentoring or student exchange programs can be part of an online project. Even discussion groups linked by eMail are valuable sources of collaboration.
- Make sure students understand computer basics. Test proficiency before starting the program, and work with students who need help.
- Team up with fellow teachers. Sharing resources, as well as skills, is essential in this field.
- Be realistic. Accept that the project will not go according to plan. There will be computer glitches, curriculum interruptions, and other delays. Be ready to exercise additional patience with these hurdles.