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General Chat Thread, Internet based homework in General; We have had a couple of teachers assign homework in school that requires them to use the internet (eg. 'look ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Internet based homework

    We have had a couple of teachers assign homework in school that requires them to use the internet (eg. 'look up XYZ online, write a short report on it').

    What are people's opinions on this? Should schools be doing this or not?

    I can see both sides of the argument:

    For:

    The internet is an excellent resource for homework! With the introduction of VLEs even more so now than it was a few years ago.
    Electronic transfer of work saves paper

    Against:

    It's discriminatory against poorer families (or those families that choose not to have a computer/internet access).
    Cheating can happen.

    My personal response to the discriminatory aspect of it is that schools now have lots of computers, available during lunchtimes and after school, our local library has computers for people to use too. So they have plenty of access to them.

    What do people think? Have we hit that point where it can be expected that people will do internet based homework?

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    witch's Avatar
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    This has also come up re the VLE as pupils will do a lot more on line with it and parents will be able to access their child's records etc - but not if they don't have computers, never mind broadband.
    Apparently according to SWGfL, about 70% of people have access to broadband, and it is up to the school to find out who has not and make provision, as you say, for the children to access computers in schools.
    Our local high school does maths homework on line and the site manager was just saying that no one had checked to see if his son had access at home...(he doesn't but then his dad has access to two IT suites!)
    If a teacher can't or won't check the access situation, I don't think the homework should be so specific - after all, you can still look up things in books!
    Mind you, if you went to a library to do this you could use the internet there - it is free around here.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    My belief is that it is OK to set homework requiring the internet, as long as the school makes sure that there is adequate provision for pupils to be able to use school computers in breaks, lunchtimes and before/after school.

    If that cannot be done, homework requiring a computer should not be set.

    This subject has just come up at the school where I am a governor and, even though there is good out-of-hours availability of computers to pupils, it has been decided by the SMT that the school's policy is not to set homework requiring the internet.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Our argument is the same that internet is available in libraries etc.. allthough I still think it would be a good idea to find out how many students have internet access at home.

    Ben

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    EvLPhenom's Avatar
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    I think it has come to a point where most people presume that almost everyone has the internet at home and even if they dont it is expected that said students would have access to the internet pretty easily with the amount of computers in schools and availability of computers in the community i.e. libraries and family and friends.

    To be honest i think the positives will out weigh the negatives and i think students today would almost certainly rather use the internet to find facts and info out rather than trawl through a book.

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    What gets me is alot of families that are classed as poor can afford things like mobile phones and even Sky tv, but can't afford something that is going to help their childrens education.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    We have a bunch of computers in our library. Which is open for kids to use for a little while before/after school + breaks + lunch.

    Additionally we helped provide some computers + broadband to the 'drop in centre' at the local council estate. So the kids there can get online in the evenings (under supervision).

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    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    Leaving aside the social aspects, pedagogically I'd tend to say that "look up XYZ and cross reference a variety of sources" is a much more valid piece of work and will probably require a visit to the library for all students rather than just the few without internet access at home.

    The assignment as presented is an invitation to take a wikipedia article on XYZ and rewrite it in your own words. The slightly more discerning student might take a look at the references on the wikipedia piece and quote a few relevant chunks from those.

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    To add to what Steve said - I was always told (and still am) at Uni that research should never be undertaken on the internet. It should always be done through books because then you can verify that it is fact rather than a load of gobbeldy gook someone made up.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Just becuase it's in a book doesn't mean that it isn't just someone else rantings in print.

    The key with internet research and any other research is cross referencing with multiple sources to confirm the accuracy of the information.

    Especially with wikipedia.

    Ben

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    We have had a couple of teachers assign homework in school that requires them to use the internet (eg. 'look up XYZ online, write a short report on it').

    What are people's opinions on this? Should schools be doing this or not?
    Well thats the technique I used for my degree, it didn't do me any harm. Of course I used libraries, texts and lecture notes as well

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    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
    To add to what Steve said - I was always told (and still am) at Uni that research should never be undertaken on the internet. It should always be done through books because then you can verify that it is fact rather than a load of gobbeldy gook someone made up.
    Well here (I work at a Uni) the general advice is yes, use the internet, but verify the material. I know the library here are keen to make the distinction between using the internet to access good reference sources (online copies of journals, industry body websites, newspaper archives) and some random blog.

    Have to say I was slightly shocked when, shortly after starting here after graduating, I was first let into the secret of what this kind of exercise is known as - they call it a FOFO... " Off and Find Out"

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    Hi

    For people who set this kind of homework, what monitoring of access to resources do you have in place?

    Would it be appropriate to ensure that people for whom school is the only access they have to the Internet/VLE have preferential access to those resources?

    What of impact in areas outide the curriculum? If kids are having to do their homework at lunchtime or just after school, this surely interferes with their ability to take part in clubs and societies. They are unable to take part in these 'extension' activities because they're busy keeping up.

    Also, we're suggesting that Internet-based HOMEwork could become more common, and that if kids don't have access at home, then they can go to the library . . . . Are we happy with the implication of this, that a child may have to *routinely* travel across town to the library and then spend potentially long periods of time there working?

    None of this is opinion, just trying to widen the debate.

    karl

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    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    Is expecting a student to travel to the library to consult "dead tree" based resources significantly different to expecting them to travel there to consult electronic ones?

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theriver View Post
    For people who set this kind of homework, what monitoring of access to resources do you have in place?
    What kind of monitoring did you have in mind? We use moodle here. It keeps 'statistics' which is a general view of the courses usage then you can dive into the logs and see what a paticular user did for example.

    The only time we've really used this functionality is to catch a kid out lying. Saying he had been on the course and got a document when in fact he never even enrolled...

    Quote Originally Posted by theriver View Post
    Would it be appropriate to ensure that people for whom school is the only access they have to the Internet/VLE have preferential access to those resources?
    Wouldn't that be discrimination? Surely it would be better to just buy more terminals?

    Quote Originally Posted by theriver View Post
    What of impact in areas outide the curriculum? If kids are having to do their homework at lunchtime or just after school, this surely interferes with their ability to take part in clubs and societies. They are unable to take part in these 'extension' activities because they're busy keeping up.
    Seems to me that's a personal time management issue. Something that the kids should be taught in school anyway (we do it in Tutor group lessons IIRC).

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