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Fall 2008 Survey Results

These results were from our Fall 2008 visitors survey. The site has been re-worked a couple of times since then.

This page is preserved for archival purposes.

First off, our thanks to everyone who participated in the K12IRC Fall 2008 Survey. Here's what we found.

Access and use of the Internet

Most respondents used the Internet every day and used it for education every day or almost every day.

The vast majority of students (at least in our limited sample size) do have Internet access either from school or home. Internet access is available to the students at school either in the classroom or in a computer lab or library. All respondents indicated that there was use of Internet resources in their classrooms.

Communication with parents and the community was not as pervasive. Communication was only once every month or two or a few times per year, with the vast majority using e-mail or non-Internet communication. Many schools had a "school web site", mostly used to provide information on upcoming events and news, updated weekly.

All respondents stated that there school had a formal written Internet usage policy covering what's appropriate and allowed.

Education and the Internet

The respondents biggest issues were wide ranging, and included...

  • Learning to teach by inquiry and assessment performance.
  • Keeping the arts alive in the classroom
  • Lack of reading and math opportunities for children.
  • Funding for library books ("as the price of books goes up, the funds available goes down").
  • Computer and technology access.
  • Attitudes of administrators and teachers on using technology, like computer games, to be used in learning.

While some classrooms use the Internet extensively, others are very limited. Here are some responses...

  • We have several websites we use with our K and Gr. 1 students to do activities in the lab.
  • Professional education.
  • Blog for classes, wiki for work and research on the Internet.
  • Use it in the classroom to show videos or other info. on a monitor.
  • Education sites for my students.
  • Our music teacher uses it to share info on the great composers and their music.
  • I do use it, but not as much as I'd like due to lack of [student access to] computers in the library.

It appears that many incorporate the Internet into their curriculum, but the percentage of time devoted to Internet usage is limited to less than 10-15% per day. (That would be an interesting follow up question for our next survey).

Areas where respondents would like to see more information or resources available also varied...

  • Performance assessment
  • Easy to use technologies that K-6 librarians can use in classrooms - like VoiceThread, slide shows, etc. - so kids can use to create multimedia projects with a limited number of computers.
  • More how-to sites for creating websites, etc.
  • Sites that can be used by the very young who are not yet readers.
  • Sites that explained things in less technical language (not just "wiki" this and "gui" that).

What's good and what's missing on the Internet

Areas of interest included...

  • How-To (Instructional) Articles (by a wide margin)
  • Creating Video Content
  • Curriculum Resources
  • Best Practices
  • Computers and the Internet In The Classroom
  • Professional Development Resources
  • Interviews & Success Stories

The respondents' favorite educational web sites varied from professional development to a number of student oriented educational "game" sites...

Areas where the Internet could better serve education included...

  • Activities for middle school earth science.
  • Use the Internet more for research, but teaching kids to be wary of what they find.
  • To collaborate and share.
  • Explore places students will be going on field trips ahead of time so that they will be prepared.

For K12IRC.org specifically, respondents liked that there was "lots of great info in one spot" but that we needed to "make it more easily navigable".

Conclusions

While our sample size was small, it does point out some changes happening on the Internet.

  • There is a great interest in collaboration and getting your "message" out. With the rise of publication sites like YouTube and VoiceThread, classes, students and teachers can easily post content without the need to create a complete web site. Leveraging this in the classroom, sharing work with parents and peers, can go a long way to encourage student participation and excellence.
  • The rise of educational "game" sites like GameGoo show that using a student's natural tendency to play can be used to support the classroom curriculum and to assist struggling students.
  • The wealth of image, sound, video and interactive resources on the Internet for seemingly every subject allows teachers to better engage students and make the link between "book learning" and the real world. Visiting distant locations or sharing great composers and their music show that Internet can be used to bring the world into the classroom in many different ways. Rather than looking to the Internet just for education web sites, many teachers are now also looking for web resources to enhance their existing curriculum.

One of the areas we will be looking to improve is site navigation, with an eye towards making it easier to locate topics on K12IRC.org.

In the mean time, here are some K12IRC pages relating to the topics brought up in the survey...


And, remember... When in doubt, try Search. With over 2,100 resource links, there's a good chance that we have a link to the information or resource you need.

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