Where to start, where to start. Well I think that the first thing that I have to say is that I can’t wait for the day that school administrators and the “higher ups” of the school decision making process realize how important it is for students to be getting basic instruction on how to use computers and the internet. I hope that they realize very quickly what a disservice towards students they are performing when they don’t include this knowledge in the grade level content standards. I also hope they realized that basic classes are only the bare minimum that students need and that they being to include classes beyond the basics as well.
Next, I will say that while I believe that the internet is a key instrument in learning, we also need to make students realize that it is not the only instrument needed for learning. In reading this article, and some of the quotes that they provided from students I came to realize that maybe students are relying too heavily on the internet for their information. I think that maybe the blame for this cannot be fully placed on the students. It seems to me that this is an issue of forbidden fruit being more appealing. When teacher restrict the ways in which students can use the internet, or prohibit internet use completely the students feel more compelled to use it. If teachers and students could work on a balance then maybe students wouldn’t feel as if they “would die” if they didn’t have the internet. I worry about the students who fall under the “Metaphor 2” group; those students who are using the internet as a shortcut to an easy way out of doing their homework.
When reading about the Metaphors I found that I, like many others, can apply more than one metaphor to my internet usage. As a student I think that my internet usage is a lot like “Metaphor 5: The Internet as a Virtual Locker, Backpack, and Notebook.” I have a folder in my e-mail account that I use specifically for e-mails that I have sent myself about school. Links ot pages that were good resources that I wanted to explore further, assignments that I was working on, and e-mails from classmates with useful information. Since I am a substitute teacher I am often working on a computer that is not mine so I have to e-mail myself any work that I may do while I am at work. I also found that I could relate to “Metaphor 1: The Internet as Virtual Textbook and Reference Library.” There are so many amazing sources of information out there just waiting for students to find them. The problem is there are also so many not so great sources of information that could have been written by any Joe-Shmo with a computer. This takes me back to the issue of including computer and internet classes in everyday curriculum, students are not going to know right off the bat how to conduct online research. This is why they need instruction and guidance.
Since I don’t have my own classroom yet, I don’t know yet how this issue is going to affect me and the way that I teach my class. My hopes are that, in taking these classes at APU, I will be better informed and better prepared in my classroom. I don’t see this problem being fixed throughout all schools any time soon, especially with budget cuts and decreased spending in schools. But I am optimistic that I will see some significant advancement. With the productions of the iPad textbook companies will find a way to make their text into digital formats. The cost of netbooks and notebooks are coming down and I can see in the future (maybe in a dream) every student with their own netbook doing research in the classroom.