Academic journal article New England Reading Association Journal

You've Got Mail from Donald Leu: E-Mail Conversations with Donald Leu

Academic journal article New England Reading Association Journal

You've Got Mail from Donald Leu: E-Mail Conversations with Donald Leu

Article excerpt

Catherine Kurkjian wrote:

Here is a question/issue that I thought I might pose to you for starters. Your recent book, Teaching with the Internet: Lessons from the Classroom, is dedicated primarily to the use of technology as it relates to the Internet. Why the Internet? What is the rationale for focusing on the use of the Internet in the classroom?

Don Leu wrote:

Hi Cathy!

Let me tell you why I would like to focus my comments on teaching with Internet technologies.

In the fall of 1998, 51% of the instructional classrooms in the public schools of the US contained a computer with at least one Internet connection (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1999. Available at:

(http://nces.ed-gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=98031XXXXX). Four years earlier only 3% of classrooms in the US had an Internet connection while it is expected that nearly all classrooms will have at least one Internet computer by the end of 2000. Thus, in just six years, one of the most powerful technologies for information and communication will have entered nearly every K- 12 classroom in the US. The Internet will have entered the classroom at a faster pace than any previous technology including telephones, television, computers, printers. This is already fundamentally changing the nature of literacy and literacy learning in the classroom.

The changes in the technologies of literacy are so profound they are redefining the meanings of what have traditionally been viewed as authentic reading and writing experiences. For some children, using Internet technologies to engage in a literature response project with children in different parts of the world has become more authentic than simply reading a book and discussing it in their classroom; it is both more meaningful, more transformative, and more common.

Catherine Kurkjian wrote:

You collected data from outstanding Internet educators. What are some of the key lessons/ ideas that you have learned about using technology for teaching?

Four Key lessons from Internet Pioneers

Don Leu wrote:

Rachel Karchmer, Kathy Hinchman, Pat lannone, and I have been studying exemplary Internet educators during the past several years through email correspondence, listening to the stories of their journeys. They have taught us many important lessons. Here are a few.

First, teachers who have been using the Internet in their classrooms for several years are going to teach us how to use the Internet in our classrooms. These teachers have been creating wonderful curriculum on the Internet for all of us to use. We refer to this as the "Miss Rumphius Effect" since, like the title character in this book, these teachers are making the world better for all of us. An article about this, with links to many wonderful classroom resources is available in IRA's electronic journal Reading Online. Available at:

http.www.readingonline.org/electronic/RT/rumphius.htmI

Visiting their classrooms will teach you much about how to use the Internet in your classroom. Teachers such as Marjorie Duby in Boston (http://Iee.boston.kl2.ma.us/ d4/d4.html, Sue Pandiani on Cape Cod (http://www.capecod.net/voyage/navigators.html), Cherrol McGhee in Queensland, Australia (http://rite.ed.qut.edu.au/oz-teachernet/projects/bookrap/), and Beth Rohloff and Tim Lauer in Portland Oregon (http://buckman.pps.k12.or.us/rooml 00/room100.html) have much to teach all of us about the best use of these new technologies for literacy. Visit their classrooms and you will see what I mean.

Second, one of the lessons these teachers have shared with us is that these new technologies are highly engaging. Children work harder with more purpose and more enthusiasm, absorbing important lessons about these new literacies so quickly it is surprising, even to these teachers.

Third, classrooms change when the Internet enters the classroom. No longer is the teacher the single expert. …

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