Understanding Teaching with the Internet in Business Education

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to analyze the way three technology-trained business education teachers deliver content knowledge with the Internet in the traditional classroom. Interviews and observations were conducted to achieve this goal. Findings revealed that the three teachers experienced much difficulty in understanding teaching with the Internet and in monitoring Internet-based assignments. Based on the findings, a framework for teaching content knowledge with the Internet in the classroom was developed. This framework includes the following eight areas: course design, technology tools, student-centered learning environment, classroom management techniques, communication, integration, motivation, and creativity.

Introduction

RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE of the Internet in the future of education, President Clinton challenged educational stakeholders, in a statement issued in 1996, to effectively integrate instructional technology into the learning environment of schools. The Clinton Administration establisfed the following educational goals: (1) produce students possessing technological skills by the 21st century, (2) connect all classrooms to the Internet by the year 2000, and (3) train all teachers in the effective integration of the Internet into the curriculum (National Center for Education Statistics, 1999; U. S. Department of Education, 1996).

The second goal, Internet connectivity for all classrooms, has been nearly accomplished. By 2000, almost 100% of the schools in the U.S. had access to the Internet (Williams & Kingham, 2003). The first and third goals, however, continue to present more significant challenges. Studies have demonstrated that having access to the Internet does not mean that it is being effectively integrated into the curriculum (Mistretta, 2005; Ramey & Barton, 1997; Williams & Kingham, 2003; Zhao, Pugh, Sheldon, & Byers, 2002).

Being a competent technology user is different from knowing how to effectively teach with technology. For instance, Becker & Anderson (1999) found that only 26% of elementary school teachers used the Internet to teach their students and a mere 8% involved their students in more interactive applications such as problem-solving exercises, email, Web publishing, and simulations. This lack of effective integration of the Internet into the curriculum may be attributed to a variety of reasons, including the lack of teacher training (Vodanovich & Piotrowski, 2005; Young, 2004) or commitment; schools' structural barriers (e.g., scheduling); and inadequate technology or technical support (Peck, Cuban, & Kirkpatrick, 2002; Pierson & Cozart, 2004).

The National Business Education Association (NBEA) had mandated that "students develop the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate situations at home, school, or work and then apply technology to solve problems and complete tasks efficiently and effectively" (2007, p. x). The NBEA's Information Technology Achievement Standard specifies that "mastery of technology tools is a requirement rather than an option for enhancing academic, business, and personal performance" (NBEA, 2007, p. 88).

The purpose of this qualitative study was to analyze the way business education teachers use the Internet in the classroom to teach content knowledge to determine if existing guidelines for integrating the Internet into the curriculum are being used effectively to support instructional practices.

Specifically, this study sought answers to the following research questions:

1. Have business education teachers integrated the Internet into the business education curriculum?

2. Are business education teachers using effective teaching methods when using the Internet as part of the classroom instructional methodology?

The results of the study will provide the basis for a framework to support the development of an enhanced learning environment when incorporating the Internet into classroom instruction. …

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