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Overview: Using the Web as a Research Tool
Diving In: Setting Goals and Objectives
Finding Resources for Web Research
Setting a Focus for Exploring
Off and Running: Applying Strategies
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Off and Running: Applying Strategies

Now it is your turn! It is time to integrate the Internet into one of your lessons. After you complete the above tasks, you will have to update your lesson plan. By checking out one of our Internet-based lessons, Migration (http://www.thirteen.org/wnetschool/lessons/migration/migrationov.html), you will notice that there are a few more pieces of information you will want to add.
  • Include in the Overview section how the students will utilize the Internet.
  • In the Materials section, list the computer resources that will be needed (e.g., number of students per computer, online or offline resources, etc.).
  • How much class time or days will be needed to complete the lesson?
  • Make sure that the focus (or foci) for exploring is clearly stated and easy to assess and measure.
  • If you choose to have the students use specific sites, provide the titles of the sites, URLs, and a brief explanation of each site and how each could be used to complete the lesson.
  • Include a description of how students will use the data they retrieved online when they are offline.
A great way to maximize computer time, make the activity hands-on, and easily access student work is to create the focus for exploring so that student work must be completed AWAY from the computer. In other words, students locate and collect the desired data at the computer, but they actually interpret and decipher the information at their desks. Again, this instills in them that the computer and Internet are tools.

Recapping

When preparing to use the Internet for research purposes:
  • Decide upon a topic or lesson and assess your current learning objectives or goals.
  • Modify or add to your objectives as you determine how the Internet will be used to achieve your lesson goals.
  • Create a list of descriptors and conduct a Smart Search to gather Internet resources.
  • Decide if you are going to have students conduct the search or if you are going to provide specific sites.
  • Apply your Grading the Web skills and find one or more quality sites. If you think the site is really snappy, you can tell us about it by going to our Site Evaluation Form. (Even if students are going to conduct the search, it is good to have a couple of "hot sites" in your pocket.)
  • Bookmark the sites you plan to use in your lesson.
  • Now, MOST IMPORTANTLY, create a focus for exploring. Remember the definition of focus for exploring. Specific tasks... Measurable outcomes... If you need to, go back to Setting a Focus for Exploring to refresh your memory.
  • To check yourself, compare your focus for exploring with the Web site(s) you wish to use or that you hope the students will find. Does the information on the site(s) allow the students to meet the objective(s)?

With these few, simple steps, you should now be prepared to successfully integrate the Internet for research purposes into your teaching. You may want to check out some of wNetSchool's selected sites. These are evaluations and links to some outstanding Web sites which were compiled by teachers like you. You may also want to look at and print out some of our Web-based lessons. These lessons cover all grade levels, and were created and submitted to wNetSchool by Master Teachers.

Good luck! Be sure to check back next month when we will explore how the Web can be used to "reach out and touch someone."

Internet Primer
Thirteen Ed Online
Thirteen