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Evaluating the Internet as a Classroom Resource

This project set out to investigate the use and development of Internet content in various curricular areas in five post-primary schools. It aimed to evaluate existing web-based resources and document how they can be used in the classroom. Existing resources were modified for the Irish curriculum. E-mail was used for student and teacher communication, for delivering assignments, and for developing collaborative projects such as travelling stories. Discussion fora and chat available on ScoilNet were extensively used. The project aimed to incorporate ICT into the students' and teachers' everyday life and work in the school and to encourage parents and others in the community to see the ICT facilities in the school and elsewhere as a means of achieving their educational goals. The project evaluated the web as a classroom resource in the post-primary sector and concluded that online resources made a valuable contribution to student education and learning in the Irish post Primary sector.

The key thrust of the IT 2000 document published by the Department of Education and Science (DES) in 1997 was that the emphasis should move from the technology to the learning, thus ensuring that education, learning and the curriculum moved centre stage with technology being viewed as a an essential tool to enhance the teaching and learning experience.

The five partner schools, participating in Sip project 069, have embraced this philosophy of learning with the help of technology thus striving to ensure that their students experienced enhanced learning while simultaneously and unavoidably growing in confidence in the use of the hardware, software and online educational resources that they encountered in the course of their technology rich educational experiences.

Learning, in almost any subject, today means not only learning the body of knowledge within the subject area of study, but also, how to use technologies in that learning experience. Thus, the traditional lines between learning about technology and learning through technology are beginning to blur. Students using technology to help them to study science or any other subject must also, unavoidably, learn how to use computers as media for collecting, storing and possibly analysing their data, doing simulated experiments, and/or communicating their conclusions. This necessitates that these students aquire the technological expertise to achieve their objectives which, inevitably, results in 'thinking through technology' within the shortest time.

One of the key objectives of Sip project 069 was to establish, in conjunction with the NCTE, an extensive directory of worthwhile, educational sites which will be researched and approved on an action research basis. It was planned to include, eventually, information on educational resources for all subjects on the Irish post primary curriculum which would be developed and expanded, over time, by means of selected additions, researched and approved by professional, subject teachers.

You are invited to email, to the project manager, the addresses of all educational sites that you encounter, deem to have educational content of value, and which are not yet listed. If we work and cooperate with one another then both the education of Irish students and the quality of life of their teachers will be enhanced


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