Nearly every school in the country is now wired into the Internet, but most teachers say they don't spend much time online, and less than half say they use the Web to develop lesson plans.
A survey of 600 teachers showed that ninety-seven percent of them had Internet access in their schools. The majority of teachers 87 percent said they are comfortable accessing the Web, but 60 percent use it for less than half an hour a day. Only 6 percent they work online for an hour or more daily. Still, students are far more accepting and willing to tackle the new technology.
"I think they use it as a research source for kids," said Cynthia Rudrud, principal of Cactus High School in Glendale, Arizona.
Rudrud said many of her teachers use the Internet in conjunction with prepackaged lessons that feature links to Web sites. And while all five computer labs in her school are constantly busy, students have become wary of the Internet once they learn not all Web sites contain reliable information.
"It's amazing how enticing the other resources in the library become to them," she said.
Survey co-author Dave Sackett, agreed, saying most teachers see the Internet merely "as a kind of electronic library" and not as a place to exchange ideas or communicate with colleagues.
Researchers Alysia Snell says, "It's not the tool that they turn to when they think about their lesson plans."
California-based NetDay - a non-profit organization that helps schools use technology - conducted the survey, which found that less than half of teachers questioned believed that the Internet had become a more important teaching tool in the past two years.
Only one-third said they have fully integrated the Internet into their daily teaching methods. Many teachers said they just don't have the time to take advantage of the web's possibilities. Others were concerned that not all Web sites contain reliable information.
Researchers were surprised to find out the math and science teachers used the Internet less frequently than those who taught other subjects such as history or English.
48 percent of all teachers said that the Internet had become a more important teaching tool, but only 39 percent of science teachers and 37 percent of math teachers agreed. 29 percent say the Internet has changed how they teach, but just 25 percent of math teachers and 21 percent of science teachers said the same.
Lake Snell Perry & Associates conducted the survey of public, private and parochial teachers. It has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percent.
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