Evaluating the World Wide Web

By Bakken, Jeffrey P.; Aloia, Gregory F. | Teaching Exceptional Children, May/June 1998 | Go to article overview

Evaluating the World Wide Web


Bakken, Jeffrey P., Aloia, Gregory F., Teaching Exceptional Children


The technological revolution that is changing how we live, work, communicate, and relate to one another is upon us. If ever our world were shrinking, it is the digital revolution that has made it infinitesimally small. For example, both current and archived issues of the Wall Street Journal can now be conveyed through a single fiber optic wire, the size of a strand of hair, to a desktop computer in less than a second; and the information can be sent at the speed of light around the world in about one-tenth of a second.

If we are to meet the needs of students in the future, we must not only respond to the enriching diversity of our schools but we must also use the medium of the 21st century-computer technology. Thus, teachers and students alike must be diversified and educated in the use and demands of technology.

Technology has decentralized and globalized much information. Decentralizing is the process of having access to information that is available to all. There will be no single depository of information or what we have traditionally called "The Seat of Wisdom." Information will be immediately accessible to everyone in quantities never before imagined. Globalization means that the world is not only becoming smaller, but because of the digital technology it is being reformed by a common language. Digital technology has enabled true globalization to occur. The "Information Superhighway" is the Internet. It is the starting point and the link to all major aspects of the technological revolution. This article identifies several key steps that educators should take and provides specific suggestions for using, applying, and evaluating the Internet in ways that will enable us to achieve our goal of educating all students.

Following the cue of Negroponte (1995), these suggestions are as germane for us as educators as they are for our students. One of our goals in addressing technological issues is to integrate the asynchronous versatility of the Internet with the printed medium in three ways: We have developed a Web page specifically designed for this article. Each Web site listed here is found on this page to provide easy access to the information (Uniform Resource Locator, URL = http://coe.ilstu.edu/gfaloia/ ABC-R % 20Scale/tecarticlehomepage.htm). On this page, we have also provided a link to a site on the Internet that lets you evaluate your own or other Web sites.

You can send an e-mail to us at jpbakke@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu or gfaloia@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu. On the "subject" line, type the words TEC Article. We will be pleased to respond to your questions and queries. Here are some important questions we address in this article: What are some of the caveats and cautions about using the Internet? What issues surround censorship and the available filtering software? How do you evaluate a site on the Internet? What are practical suggestions for using the Internet with students with disabilities? Cueal of Omd

The Internet is a rapidly changing, frontier-pushing learning too]. As with all entities that are multifaceted, complex, and dynamic, trying to contain, define, or limit its impact is difficult. Here are four caveats every educator should be aware of.

Precautions

The Internet by its very nature is a vast, anonymous cyberspace. Kehoe and Mixon (1997) cautioned parents and educators that they should view the Internet in the same way they regard a playground. If a child wants to go to a playground, no parent or guardian would let him or her go alone. Kehoe and Mixon have provided an excellent set of cautions that adults should follow when letting children have access to the Internet. They list six basic rules for safety: 1. Don't give out personal information. Personal information includes first and last name, address, home phone numbers, Social Security number, gender, where you go to school, or a picture of yourself. Remember, being anonymous has its benefits.

2. …

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