Internet Communication in Six Classrooms: Conversations across Time, Space, and Culture

Internet Communication in Six Classrooms: Conversations across Time, Space, and Culture

Internet Communication in Six Classrooms: Conversations across Time, Space, and Culture

Internet Communication in Six Classrooms: Conversations across Time, Space, and Culture

Excerpt

This is a book about communication. We tell half a dozen stories about teachers and students who, because of recent advances in telecommunications, are able to move ideas back and forth across time, space, and culture. We attempted to tell the stories in a manner that makes them accessible and useful to both the scholarly community and classroom teachers.

We think that classroom telecommunications activity is quite remarkable, not because of the possibility of electronic "handshaking" and rapid movement of bits of information via Internet technology, but because of the intensely social activity that the technology supports. We find it remarkable, for instance, that young children learn to provide enough detail to make unfamiliar ideas comprehensible to other children thousands of miles away, and that adolescents are able to tailor their language so that it is informal and engaging and still useful in persuading peers of the greater legitimacy of one of two competing claims. It is also remarkable, we think, that teachers swap accounts of classroom triumphs and failures -- and even discuss basic beliefs about teaching and learning -- with relative strangers.

Each of the six stories that we tell makes it clear that teachers and students are attempting to connect, often across considerable geographic and cultural distance. They are informing, entertaining, and persuading and, as they use computers to accomplish all sorts of social purposes, they belie the stereotype of computer users as isolates relating to machines but not to other people.

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