Engaging with the internet

How do students engage with the use of the internet? Constantly we hear about how tech-savvy teens are and how teachers are the digital natives in this realm. Yet, we should not, I believe become complacent in a belief that all students have equal exposure, skills and interest in the internet. Many students do not have the kind of skills valued in education – the ability to skim, scan, summarise, analyse, consolidate etc etc.

Too often I have had students come into my class unable to read a webpage, to summarise key points for a powerpoint, search efficiently on the internet and recognise how to be safe on the internet. As teachers, we need to recognise that our teaching is not about introducing the latest tools, but in ensuring all students have the skills to access them.

What are the skills? I’ll be building this page as I share my thoughts and develop them by further research.

My current students are teenage ESL students who have had only a few months exposure to English. Many have not had formal education prior to arriving in Australia. That will explain my first expectation for my students – their ability to type in URLs and recognise how to move around a computer screen. Students love using the computer and I believe that the best way for them to acquire their computer literacy is to incorporate it into simple tasks in lessons. By the end of the first few lessons, my students know how to type in URLs, locate their document folders and save their material.



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