The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) recently released its report on “Teachers’ Use of Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools: 2009.” While 97% of those teachers surveyed said they had access to computers in the classroom, the ratio of computer to student was more than 5 to 1. And while 94% of teachers responding indicated they used the Internet often, most of them – 66% – said they used it for “research.”
But Internet technology has done more than make research easier and more timely for teachers and students. Educators are using the real-time Web for a variety of innovative purposes, both in and out of the schoolroom.
The Real-Time Web in the Classroom
It may be cliche to emphasis the world wide aspect of the Web, but Internet technologies have lowered the proverbial walls of the classroom, giving students access to information that far surpasses the print-bound copies of encyclopedias and periodicals that were once the standard for K-12 research projects. As technology-educator Steven Anderson argues, these technologies “really make the world smaller for our students and show them that they can find the answers they need if we equip them with the tools and resources do to so.” But in addition to simply making information more accessible, real-time technologies including Twitter, Skype, and Google Wave have shaped the types of lessons teachers can create and the types of projects they can task their students.