Using the Internet
One highly effective way
to integrate the Internet into the classroom is through the
construction of worksheets that use the Internet as an information
resource culminating in activities with built-in conflicts requiring
students to orally interact with one another to solve a problem, arrive
at a consensus, or do information gathering.
- Students use real world
information found on the Interet.
are free to make their own
- Freedom of
choice generates commitment.
of and commitment to the
material compels students to talk (to explain and defend
their original work).
is meaningful and real (as
opposed to dictated by the teacher or textbook).
Three Parts to the
The worksheet begins by
succinctly laying out a hypothetical, but realistic situation. This
clearly presents the foundation for the activity so students can apply
their original thinking to the same central theme. The situation might
be traveling to a designated destination, making a list of items to
buy, or talking about material or information selected by the students.
The worksheet requires
the students to think realistically about the situation in practical
terms. Questions about how they will go (what airlines they will use,
cost, times), what the weather will be like (affecting their daily
plans), where they will stay (hotel, location, cost), how they will get
around (rent-a-car, on foot, bicycle), what they will buy (making a
list of items), how much they will spend, where they will make the
purchase, how and why the material relates to them, and other pertinent
information about the material not only make the situation real in the
sense that they could actually put the information to use (actually go
on the trip, order the items, or incorporate the information into their
daily lives), but help the students think more deeply, internalizing
the information. The worksheet questions also play an important role in
preparing the students for the speaking activities that follow by
providing a form for them to organize their thoughts and note reasons
or factual information to support their choices.
The speaking activities
at the end of the worksheet incite students to talk about their
original information. The activities are designed to necessitate
student to student interaction by requiring students to work together
to produce something that is a combination of the information on their
worksheets or to gather missing information. Advanced students will be
able to give reasons for their choices and engage in discussions to
complete the activities. Low-level students may need to follow sample
dialogs, but these can be made real by substituting pertinent
information with their original choices.
Using the Worksheet
- Choose a situation suited to the
students' interests and ability.
- Anticipate the types of questions
discussions that will likely occur during the speaking activity and ask
questions on the worksheet that will prepare students for them.
- Search the Internet to make sure
information required to answer the questions can be easily accessed on
sites that are straightforward without having to wade through a maze of
- (Optional) Determine which web
the most useful and consider steering students to those sites.
- (Optional) Prepare offshoot or
activities that can be done with remaining time or carried over to the
hypothetical situation must be
realistic and appropriate to the students' level and interests.
- The situation must be well thought
and clearly stated. Take care to maintain a balance: too much detail
limits the students' freedom of choice, too general can result in end
products that are too different to provide common grounds for
- The worksheet questions should
students think clearly, deeply, and realistically about the
hypothetical situation to ensure that their thoughts are organized with
pertinent information and supporting reasons for them to easily respond
to questions from other students.
- The worksheet questions should
the students toward a common finish format that can be referred to when
interacting with one another.
- The worksheet questions should be
open-ended enough to allow students to make original choices resulting
in end products that reflect their individuality.
- The worksheet should have a simple
that is not too long and fairly easy to complete.
- The worksheet must finally have a
that requires the students to orally interact with one another.
- (Optional) The worksheet could
definitions of difficult vocabulary and explanations of cultural
peculiarities to assist in understanding the material.
who are unfamiliar with the
Internet (especially in English) can work in the computer lab as the
teacher guides them through the worksheet. In this case, the worksheet
must be short enough to allow time for student pair or group
interaction if the lesson will be completed in a single class period.
(Go to Using the Internet in the
Class, section 5 for more detail.)
- Students who are more advanced (both
in language ability and Internet use) can complete the worksheet for
homework and come to class prepared to participate in the tasks and
activities using the information on their worksheets.
Lessons having to do
with going on a trip are the most generic and can be used with most any
class because of the almost universal interest in traveling.
Lessons based on other
topics can be used depending upon the level and make up of the class.
Material that assists
students in their conversations, organization of the information and/or
understanding of the information.
own and send the link to add to a database of on-line worksheets