How can I incorporate the Internet if I have limited or no access to it in my classroom or school?
One issue that frequently arises is how to use the Net when you have limited computer resources. If each student has a computer at his or her desk, you won't have to deal with this question, but if there is only one computer per classroom or one computer per 4-5 students, you will have to make arrangements to allocate computer time.
Most teachers deal with this problem by having students work in groups at the computer -- if there are enough computers so that small collaborative groups can work around one, this can actually be an advantage. Students learn how to work together as well as the particular subject they are studying. Be sure that the computer whizzes who have Net access at home don't dominate the groups -- create enough tasks, and stress to the class that each kid in the group should have some time at the computer. Stress to students that the Internet is NOT the only place to look for information.
What do you do when the Internet goes down? Larry Seals, Technology Specialist at Takoma School in Washington, D.C., speaks about the limitations of technology in the classroom and the necessity of developing back up plans in the event that it fails.
If there is only one computer per classroom, a different strategy must be used. Either small groups must be assigned to use the computer, while other students work at other tasks, or the whole class must formulate questions before computer use begins. Then one student can be assigned the search, and you can make sure that every student gets a chance to do one eventually. Have the students on the computer print out the information he or she finds so others can read it offline.
You might want to create "workstations." For example, students could use the computer at the first station, read articles or books at the second station, and participate in tutoring at the third.
If there are no computers in your school, students can probably use one at the local public library. However, you must be sure to shape your lesson to reflect the fact that each student will have limited time on the Net.