Lessons Via Internet Cyberspace Opens Students' Eyes, and Minds, to the World

By Desmon, Stephanie | The Florida Times Union, January 18, 1996 | Go to article overview

Lessons Via Internet Cyberspace Opens Students' Eyes, and Minds, to the World


Desmon, Stephanie, The Florida Times Union


Angie Goldsmith's students have combed the world, talking to

children in war-torn Bosnia, peppering scientists in Antarctica

with questions and watching lava flow from an erupting volcano

in New Zealand.

The Jacksonville youngsters' travels haven't racked up any

frequent flier miles, just plenty of computer time. Thanks to

the Internet, Goldsmith's charges have done it all from the

comfort of a storage closet-turned-computer-lab at Whitehouse

Elementary School.

"It is a gigantic resource," said Whitehouse Principal Bill

Rodgers. "Almost anything you want is available in the Internet.

You can just skate around the world in the time it would take

you to go from the checkout desk to the stacks" in a traditional

library.

Whitehouse students have been speeding along the information

superhighway for nearly a year. The school is among about 25

Duval County public schools using the Internet, said Tim

Ballentine, the school system's supervisor of instructional

technology and mathematics.

In the next few years, all 148 Duval County schools should be

online, he said.

Still, as Internet use in the schools grows, so do the questions

about what kind of material students are being exposed to

online. And school systems are scrambling to develop ways to

police those students, making sure pornographic pictures and

bomb-making instructions stay out of their reach.

Yet schools are focusing on the extraordinary benefits the

Internet provides. It is showing its worth primarily in subjects

like science and current events where the material is constantly

changing. A revolutionary network, it allows students access to

the most advanced material on any subject imaginable.

Doing a report on the White House? President Clinton has a page

on the World Wide Web. Researching master artworks? View

paintings straight from the walls of the Louvre in Paris. Doing

a project on being a child in London? Students can correspond

instantly with their British counterparts.

Internet access is free to the schools through the state

Department of Education's Florida Information Resource Network.

Within six months the school system expects to make it easier

for schools to go online by buying computer equipment necessary

to provide its own Internet connections. …

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