Teaching With the WWW
Guiding Principles for Creating Teaching Units
- Select a specific cultural concept or idea, and use it for a key word search in one or several search engines. Look rather for the specific than the general.
- Select a site which has 'appeal', i.e. it has appealing graphics and/or page layout. Some pages are very professional looking, while some 'home-made' pages have their own charm. Most interesting are those sites which represent a certain opinion, and
are therefore more to the point, convincing etc. rather than too general. The site that you pick should in some way either elaborate a certain point, or go beyond what is commonly known or expected. Surprises are always fun.
- Clearly state the objective: what exactly do you want the students to learn by visiting this site? For instance, do you want to have the students find out how telephone rates for local calls determine/influence calling habits? Or do you want the stud
ents to find out about the business hours of local shops with their different traditional closing days? Let the site inspire you. If there is something you learned/enjoyed while surfing, it could be something your students would also benefit from.
- Think of ways how the students could reach this objective. Some sites might have difficult vocabulary and/or grammar but provide interesting new viewpoints. Then you would not ask the students to paraphrase or analyze (which would be too difficul
t at this stage) but you would carefully select the material to be read and how the students should read it. For instance, the students would only read one specific paragraph, or only headlines, or do fill-in-the-blank reading exercises, or make a list. I
n other words, the reading activity will depend on the students' level of comprehension. A text is never 'too' difficult: it depends what you want the students to do with it and how you structure this activity. Possible tasks could be:
- making hypotheses.
- Decide how you want to introduce the students to the site you have
selected. This warm-up activity only takes a few minutes and prepares
the students for
what is to come and what is expected of them. It gives them focus and shows them how the WW
W exercise ties in with what they have been doing in class on the previous days and what might come afterwards.
- It is often helpful for the students to have a worksheet for them where they jot down the results of their internet assignment.
- The internet exercise is always followed up by classroom discussion or another activity which involves other students. In this way, the individual (or group) can share and compare results. In this stage, the learning objective is clearly recognized b
y the students.
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