Educational Technology & Society 2(2) 1999
ISSN 1436-4522

Teaching with the Internet: Lessons from the Classroom

(Book review)

Reviewer: James R. Layton
Professor Emeritus
Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, USA
Email: jrlayton@hitter.net

Textbook details:
Teaching with the Internet: Lessons from the Classroom
http://web.syr.edu/~djleu/teaching.html
Leu, Donald J., Jr. & Leu, Deborah Diadiun
1999, Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc., Norwood, Massachusetts, 1502 Providence Highway, Suite 12, Norwood, MA 02062 USA
Tel: +1 800 934 8322 http://www.Christopher-Gordon.com
(ISBN 0-926842-85-4)
Pages: 336; Chapters: 12; glossary and index; and special internet resources sites at the end of each chapter.


Teaching with the Internet:. . . (TI) was written to demonstrate to teachers techniques for efficaciously integrating internet activities into their classrooms.  The authors' intent was to de-emphasise the technology aspects of learning about the internet and focus on the uses of the internet for teaching and learning.  The book contains illustrations of the opportunities contemporary teachers, world-wide,  are providing students in their quests for learning and discovery.

The Leus are especially qualified to author the work; they both worked in the Peace Corps as teachers of English as a Second Language using a wide variety of electronic media.  Ms. Leu presently teaches in the English Language Institute at Syracuse University and Dr. Leu is a professor in the School of Education at Syracuse University.


Assumptions

The writers base much of the content of the book on two assumptions.

  1. Teachers must take an active role in orchestrating students' experiences with the internet in which they must be assigned a knowledgeable and thoughtful teacher to guide them.
  2. The internet is powerful, complex, and constantly changing; therefore,  socially mediated learning activities are essential if success in teaching and learning is to be realized.


Features

Features included in the second edition of  TI include but are not limited to the following:

  1. resources and teaching strategies for kindergarten through grade 12 (US organizations);
  2. platforms that include both Macintosh and Windows found in schools;
  3. browsers for both Netscape and Internet Explorer;
  4. integrated instructional models for teaching using the internet;
  5. central sites that  make searches faster and easier;
  6. time saving procedures in conducting searches;
  7. internet references;
  8. child protection procedures; and
  9. browser reconfiguration strategies to reduce commercial on the internet


Chapters

Chapter 1 of the work contains a welcome to the internet along with an explanation of the internet, its importance to teachers and their students, and how the internet can be used to help them learn more, efficaciously.  There also are sections containing the authors' purposes and the social nature of learning.

Chapter 2 of the book provides teachers with navigation strategies and specifies the important tools for navigating, two powerful browsers that are available,  acceptable use policies, and time saving devices for navigators.  As in all chapters, the final section is a list of resources.

Chapter 3 of TI contains an extensive treatment of communication devices that are available including e-mail, mailing lists, newsgroups, and central sites for newsgroups.  The treatment in this chapter is similar to information contained in other textbooks but also contains unique contributions.

The writers deliver in Chapter 4 and beyond what they promised in the "Preface" of the book: effective instructional strategies.  It is a commendable treatment of planning instruction using the internet.  The chapter appears to lead into chapters 5 through 8 that are devoted to English, social studies, science, and mathematics, respectively.

Each of those chapters contains valuable information for keeping activities simple, internet projects, internet inquiry, and "Kids-Teaching-Kids."  Teachers in elementary, middle, junior, and high school should be able to adapt the ideas in the chapters to their particular levels with ease.

The final chapters of TI are of value for those persons providing programs for younger children (Chapter 9), those with a need or desire for giving attention to diversity and multicultural understanding (Chapter 10),  and  persons with responsibilities for students with special needs (Chapter 11).

"Developing a Home Page for Your Classroom" is the title of Chapter 12.  This is an important chapter in that any teacher who teaches students  the value of surfing the internet and learning about all the resources and information it contains would be remiss if (that teacher) were not able to provide a web page for his or her students.  Just think about that. . . .

Overall, this is a valuable textbook and resource for educators and others interested in providing advanced educational systems for students at all ages.  The graphics in this book lack quality in terms of clearness, contrast between print and background, and other aspects of top quality production that are lacking.  That, may not be important; the graphics are readable.


Summary

Teaching with the Internet: Lesson from the Classroom is a valuable contribution to the field of educational media and electronic media, especially in the use of the computer and the internet to enhance learning and begin to advance it to untold dimensions.


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