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AFRIK-IT  March 1996

AFRIK-IT March 1996

Subject:

NPR (USA) Internet a mixed blessing in schools

From:

Jeff Cochrane USAID AfricaLink <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Tue, 26 Mar 1996 19:37:15 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (37 lines)

Greetings Afrik-ITers!
 
The following seems quite comparable to what I expect to happen in Africa as access to the Internet
spreads.
 
A National Public Radio (USA) report: The Internet a Mixed Blessing in America's Schools
(paraphrased by Jeff Cochrane)
 
Mission High School teacher Mr. Torres has introduced the Internet to his students.  Students have
access to one computer, so only five are able to be online.  Frustrated with access to information
in the library, they pose questions to experts on the net.
 
One comment: the biggest problem with the Internet is stupidity -- too much junk on the net.
Teachers should get in touch with other teachers and schools with more experience working on the
Internet to learn how to access the valuable information hidden beneath the junk.
 
Friday pm at Richmond HS.  Every student has an account.  A male student has a pen pal.  Teachers
feel this is a waste of time, that he should be reading literature.
 
NASA has a pilot school project, transmitting images for students to study.  Takes time and money
to set up.  Mostly, teachers are given a computer and a modem and expected to do "something".
Teachers are still exploring how to use the tool.
 
Creative ideas.  16 year old student Gill just set up a home page for his school band.  His teacher
recently took his account away since he was cutting class to use it.
 
A teacher criticizes the Internet.  When students go to the Internet, there's no scholarly
approach.  Just because it's on a home page doesn't make it true.  Another teacher responds, how do
we know if it's true if it's from Harvard Press?  Academia ignores African American history, for
example.  The teachers continue to argue.  It's an old debate.
 
Other teachers argue it's the responsibility of the teacher to make sure students use tools
properly.  The net does not replace teachers.
 
There's been a lot of focus on wiring schools, but not much on working with teachers on how to use
the technology.

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