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Why Integrate the World Wide Web? Judi Moreillon, Ph.D.

What are the educational advantages of integrating the World Wide Web into your classroom curriculum? Judi Harris from the University of Texas, Austin suggests that educators ask themselves these two questions: For this particular unit of study, can the Web help me teach a concept better than ever before? Or can the Web help me teach in a way I've never been able to do before? If the answer to either or both of these questions is "yes", then the World Wide Web is the appropriate resource for this learning experience.

On her Virtual Architecture Web Site, Ms. Harris outlines 18 Activity Structures for integrating the Web into the classroom curriculum. After reading her book, I assisted students and teachers in exploring some of these structures at Gale Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona. You can read about our experience in a book review that I authored entitled: Building a School Web Site with Virtual Architecture. (1999, November/December). Knowledge Quest [Online].

In addition to creating and facilitating telecomputing projects for students, classroom teachers and teacher-librarians are also building Web sites to meet students' curricular needs. There are several common complaints from teachers about using Internet resources in their classrooms. One is that the resources they find on the Web aren't aligned with their classroom curriculum. Another is that Web sites are often not student-user friendly. This means that the writing isn't at an appropriate level for their students' reading proficiencies and/or that a site is difficult for students to locate and/or to navigate.

As a result, more and more teachers and teacher-librarians are creating Web sites to meet the needs of their classroom and/or school populations. The exciting result is that many outstanding resources are available not only to their students but also to students worldwide. These are a few examples of Tucson-area teacher and/or teacher-librarian authored sites.

I created the Sabino Canyon Web Site for students and teachers who visit the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona; the site focuses on The Web of Life Kit, one of the learning experiences that students might have on their field trips to the canyon. There are no paper resources for fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students that specifically address the history and ecology of Sabino Canyon.

Denise Webb, a fifth-grade teacher at Blenman Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, was interested is helping her students understand American History. She believed her students would be better able to read her online reports on various historical events than they would their social studies textbook. Ms. Webb wrote the text for these Web pages; her students created the illustrations.

Caryl Jones, the library media specialist at Ventana Vista Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, created the Dewey Project. This site is a collection of Web resources organized by Dewey decimal number. (For instance, Web sites with information about animals would be found in the 500s section of this listing.) Ms. Jones wanted students and teachers in her school to be able to locate their own Web resources using Dewey, a system with which they were already familiar. This resource is now used by many teachers, librarians, and students in Arizona and beyond.

Updated: 23 May 2007

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