Have you ever wondered what the Internet is all about and how it might
be used in your classroom? Hopefully you will find the answers in this
guide. This is not meant to be a technical guide, though some technical
points are included. Instead, we hope it informs and starts discussion
among staff, parents, and students on how the Internet can help Irish education.
Are you aware that approximately 400 primary and secondary schools are
already on the Internet taking advantage of the vast libraries of information
available? Some of these schools are putting their own project work and
information on the Internet for the benefit of schools all over the world.
Imagine being able to access the entire works of William Shakespeare, see
up-to-the-minute satellite pictures of the earth or sign the White House
Guestbook from your own computer, all for the price of a local phone call!
If you want to communicate with colleagues at home or abroad, or participate
in educational discussions, then this handbook is for you.
This introductory chapter explains the purpose of the guide and provides
background information on the authors, on Broadcom, and on Broadcom's Classroom
of the Future project. The next chapter covers the basics - the role the
Internet has in classroom learning and a brief explanation of the main
Internet tools - E-mail and the World Wide Web (WWW). Chapter three is
an in-depth look at how the Web can be used in Irish schools. As well as
providing ideas and suggestions on how to use the Internet, we have also
included some Internet addresses that will help you to get started. Chapter
four looks at using E-mail for school projects and at developing a Web
page for your school. Chapters five and six describe the technicalities
of getting set-up to use the Internet (that is, getting on-line,
in Internet jargon) and of actually using the computer once you're on-line.
After this, chapter seven introduces you to four Irish teachers who have
used the Internet in their classrooms. They explain how it has helped them
and give some pointers on how it could help you. In chapter eight we look
ahead - what might the Irish classroom be like in the future? To finish,
the last chapter, "What next?", gives you some ideas on how to
get started with the Internet in your classroom.
If you're looking for more detailed information, perhaps you should
check out the appendices to the guide. We have included a brief explanation
of the history of the Internet and how it works in Appendix A. Appendix
B gives more information on how to get on the Internet - we give you some
idea of cost and list the Irish Internet Service Providers. Lastly, if
you encounter any new terms while reading the guide, you can check our
glossary located in Appendix C.
We hope you find the guide both informative and entertaining. Read on, learn, and enjoy.
We are two primary school teachers teaching in Scoil Mhuire, Woodview, Lucan, who have been exploring the possibilities of using Information Technology to enhance teaching and learning. Over the past year we introduced the Internet into our own school and are part of the Blackrock Teacher's Centre Internet User Group. We realised early on that the Internet contained a vast amount of educational resources that could be used in Irish schools, yet Irish schools had no reference point on the Web. We created a Web site (EdNet Ireland) through which schools could contact other Irish schools and locate curriculum resources. In addition, we have presented in-service courses to primary and secondary teachers on using the Internet in Irish classrooms.
In 1995, Broadcom launched a research project named "The Classroom
of the Future" to investigate the future use of Information Technology
(IT) and Telecommunications in education. In order to devise a framework
for the project, a Project Advisory Group, consisting of teachers experienced
in the use of IT in the classroom, was formed. The members are Pat Seaver
(Pobalscoil Neasáin), Geoff Reeves (St. Andrews College, Booterstown),
John Curran (Good Shepherd, Churchtown), Seamus O'Canainn, and Tom McMahon
(Blackrock Teachers' Centre). Under the direction of the Project Advisory
Group, a three-phase approach has been taken.
In the first phase, it was decided to study the use of IT and Telecommunications
in the classroom. To this end, a pilot network was set up whereby each
of the three schools was supplied with high-speed access to the Internet.
Each school was supplied with E-mail and World Wide Web software, a PC,
and an ISDN connection to Broadcom's corporate network and so to the Internet
via Eunet. The basic network was in place by January 1996 and has been
successfully and extensively used by all three schools. The teachers have
found the facilities useful for their own lesson research and for developing
the independent learning skills of their students. Pobalscoil Neasáin has
even gone so far as to set up their own home pages on the Web. These eye-catching
pages developed by second-level students provide information on the school
and the projects in which it is involved. During the next academic year,
the schools plan to collaborate on a project called "My Community".
The aim of the project is that the students will create a repository of
information on themselves, their school, their community, its local history,
and its environment. This will not only teach children how to use Information
Technology to their advantage, but will also allow them to share in the
day-to-day experiences of children who are geographically distant from
Phase two of "The Classroom of the Future" project is concerned
with assisting the broader community of Irish teachers and school children.
Three initiatives have been undertaken as part of this. Firstly, a set
of Web pages has been developed by Broadcom in co-operation with the Project
Advisory Group and two second-level students, Eoin Curran and Peter Lonergan.
These Web pages provide on-line information aimed at Irish teachers and
school kids. There is a map of Ireland which gives a county-by-county list
of all the schools with home pages and E-mail addresses. There are substantial
lists of useful educational resources available on the Web categorised
by subject. In the near future, we are planning to make classroom worksheets
and past-paper solutions available. The second initiative is the guide
you are now reading. It is hoped that this guide will help Irish teachers
to understand the Internet and help them to use it in their classrooms.
The third initiative, a poster explaining how the Internet works, is aimed
at school kids. It is intended to provide them with a basic knowledge of
the Internet and hopefully an enthusiasm for it.
The third phase of the project will explore the longer term issues of the impact of technology on Irish education. What is the future of computers in the classroom? How can advanced telecommunications services be of benefit to Irish education? How can these complementary technologies be harnessed most effectively? These are some of the questions we hope to address in the future...
Broadcom is a dynamic research company specialising in research and
consultancy in the areas of Network Management and Advanced Telecommunications
Services. Broadcom offers knowledge and experience in the planning and
design of Telecommunications Management Systems. These systems allow telecommunications
companies, such as Telecom Éireann, to plan, provision, install, maintain,
and operate their networks and their associated services in an efficient
and cost-effective manner. Our research encompasses the technologies on
which such systems are based, the methodologies and tools used to support
their development, and the innovative computing techniques which we employ
to improve and enhance their operation.
Established in 1987, as a joint venture between Ericsson, Telecom Éireann,
and Trinity College Dublin, Broadcom is proud of its international reputation
for leadership in research. This reputation has been won by our technical
competence, innovative ideas, and high standards of performance. Our research
partners include over 100 companies in the Telecommunications industry
and the Information Technology sector.
We believe that research is an effective weapon in the quest for competitive edge. Research is essential for identifying new technologies, exceeding customers' expectations, and pinpointing new opportunities for the future.
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