Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ruminations on the importance of teaching internet skills

 "If we seek to prepare our students for their future, it would seem essential that we
would want to evaluate their ability with online reading comprehension." (Mokhtari 2008)

I agree.  It would seem essential that we teach students to develop questions, use keywords, find information, determine credibility, and produce a product for their audience (even if they themselves are the audience.)  The internet and online communication are becoming integral to many of my day-to-day interactions, especially in my economic and social demographic.  I use the internet at work to help students and communicate with my colleagues.  I use the internet at home to find stuff out and to communicate with my friends.  I am not yet connected on my phone.  I waste too much time "cruising" as it is.

We use the internet, but we also eat. As a society, we make poor food choices. Should our schools take that on as well?  They do to some degree with "healthier" lunches, but obesity is still a huge issue.  Most of our students will become parents.  Shouldn't we offer coursework on parenting?  We can work it in Science classes.  How about personal finance?  That's really important.  Math.  Basic car and home maintenance? The list goes on.

Actually in "the good old days" when college wasn't pushed as the only option, we did have Home Ec, wood shop, automotive classes, and "business classes" for those who didn't plan to further their formal education. My parents made me take typing in 8th grade.  That's the only reason I can navigate a keyboard. Maybe the changing times assume we will be prepared for the basics of day-to-day living - or we'll be able to Google it and find out!

I'm listening carefully, maybe with a more skeptical ear than some.  I'll be trying some new material out at school this year.  I work with some high-schoolers who don't have third grade reading skills.  Why?  Will learning to navigate the World WILD Web help them?  Maybe.  We'll see...

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