Vol 6|No 7|April|1997

Internet (and Information) Readiness

by Jamie McKenzie



Adding up the scores from the twelve questions, teachers with totals above 36 will generally welcome the addition of rich new information sources. Those with scores substantially below that number may not be philosophically inclined or pedagogically prepared to take advantage of the resources.

*Marty and Jacqueline Brooks. In Search of Understanding: the Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Alexandria: ASCD, 1993, pp. 103-117.


The dollars are flowing to create on-ramps for the Information Highway, but far too many schools and districts are plugging in without providing the staff development or the curriculum changes necessary to take full advantage of the rich new resources.
Previous issues of From Now On have warned of bandwagons and train wrecks resulting from a failure to consider and act upon clear educational purpose. Schools must stop to consider why they are eager for so much new information and what relevance it will have to the classrooms which exist today. For those American schools described by John Goodlad and others as providing students with information through lectures and textbooks, the vast new information resources may seem irrelevant and distracting.
Once the computers are installed, networked and brimming over with great information, much of it in primary source formats, many school people may question the value of the investment.
For those who believe that schools are established to equip students to make up their own minds, the new resources are a blessing and a wonder, especially if schools are smart enough to supplement the "free Internet" with pay-for-service information. Students sit down to desktops which allow them to explore deeply and widely. As more and more of civilization's treasures are digitized, the potential benefits of the networks are enormous.
The main point of this article is the critical importance of student-centered learning and staff development if we are to deliver Information Power.


Credits: The background is from Jay Boersma.
Other drawings and graphics are by Jamie McKenzie.

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