students go online

When Should Students Start Using the Internet?

The Internet has fabulous resources giving children the ability to play, learn, communicate, and share. How do you know if your students are ready to go online?

At the school where I am a guest instructor, the education committee has determined that Grade 3 is when students will complete an Internet unit. Although the students do use the Internet in earlier grades most of the activities are teacher directed. For example, students may view polar bears on a web cam, watch an online video, visit a bookmarked website, or login to an online resource. For the most part, student driven use of the Internet is limited in the primary grades to collecting images using Google or playing an online game during free time.

TechnoJourney, an Internet technology project, is introduced in Grade 3. The instructional goal of this project is to provide students with a solid foundation. By the end of the unit students should be able to practice Internet safety, ethically use digital resources, understand essential terminology, use web browser tools, bookmark websites, apply effective search strategies, evaluate the quality of web-based information, locate educational resources, collect images, map directions, and communicate using email.

UPDATE: TechnoJourney was replaced with TechnoInternet. The activities are similar.

Why does the school wait until Grade 3 to teach Internet skills?
One of the main reasons TechnoJourney is not taught until Grade 3 is that many younger children lack the necessary literacy skills to be online. When using the Internet students need to be able to skim and scan search results, read information on web pages, and evaluate the trustworthiness of the source. This requires a proficiency in decoding words and reading comprehension that children in Grades 1 or 2 may not yet possess.

What do you Think?

At what grade do your students begin to use the Internet? What web-based activities do your students complete?

Other Articles about Teaching Internet Skills using TechnoJourney

Internet and Children
Using the Internet to conduct research requires proficiency in decoding words and reading comprehension.

Now the Students’ Turn: Reflecting on TechnoJourney
A Teacher Speaks Out: Yes, you should teach Internet skills!
Peer to Peer Teaching – Students Become the Teachers
Internet Tour Guide Activity
Use YouTube Videos in your Classroom
Students Love Google Maps
Review How to Sort Google Images with Your Students
Teaching Internet Skills – The Trust Test
Wikipedia in the Classroom
Bookmarking is a Basic Internet Skill that can be Complex
Metacognition and Teaching about the Internet
4 Strategies for Reviewing Internet Search Results
When Should Students Start Using the Internet?
Should you Teach Internet Skills?

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