Internet Workshop is an instructional model that educates students on a newly emerging form of literacy, the Internet. Some of the new literacies facing students in school include "online reading comprehension to locate, critically evaluate, synthesize, and communicate information" (Zawilinski, Leu, & other members, n.d., How the definition of literacies are changing, para. 1). The Internet Workshop Instructional model incorporates these literacies.
The Internet Workshop model has four steps:
- identifying and bookmarking the Internet site that corresponds with an instructional topic,
- developing activities that encourage the study and analysis of the website,
- completing the activities,
- through discussion, sharing the learning (Leu, 2002).
Features within the classroom including the following:
- Permits students to learn from one another about content information, critical literacy skills, and the new literacies of Internet technologies (Leu & Leu, 2002).
- One of the easiest approaches to use with the internet (Leu & Leu, 2002).
- Fosters a sense of community through its collaborative nature (Leu, 2002).
- Develops new literacies and technological skills in the context of the curriculum(Leu, 2002). According to Kinzer (2003), “this electronic world is changing the way in which alphabetic literacy is used, and it also places new demands on children as they become literate.”
Typically, literacy in the classroom has focused on the following building blocks: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, text comprehension (NEIRTIC, 2004). However, as the electronic age permeates our society, students need to be prepared for jobs that require further literacy skills. Some of these skills include the following (Kinzer, 2003, para. 15):
- Layout and design skills for creating presentations and web pages
- Critical thinking about video, still images, audio, text, and interrelationships, and how they jointly convey intended and unintended messages
- Skill in using a variety of software types
- Information gathering, retrieval, and copying into presentation formats
- Scaling images
- Incorporates flexibility and can be used with any age group and in many ways. "It may be used as a directed learning experience, a simulation, a center activity, or with many other instructional practices you already use" (Leu, 2002, p. 467).
- Easily adaptable to facilitate differentiated learning (Leu, 2002).
- Facilitates higher level thinking through the use of open-ended activities (Leu, 2002).
When incorporating an Internet Workshop within the classroom, the following should be considered:
- Ensure equal computer time for all students. Teachers need to be concerned with electronic equity in the classroom. Just as children develop at different rates for the traditional literacy skills, so do they also develop at different rates for skills such as keyboarding and navigation.
- Students are exposed to varying levels of technology. “The ‘Digital Divide’ refers to the gap between those who benefit from digital technology and those who do not.” ("Digital Divide," n.d., What it is, para. 1). According to Shireen Mitchell from Digital Sisters(DS), Inc. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3ibP7cU0dQ), 29 million people in America do not have access to computers. Schools need to prepare all students for the global workforce and face challenges in incorporating the technology to achieve this goal. The Internet Workshop can be one tool that can be used to address the needs of today’s students.
Digital Divide: What it is, Why it Matters?. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from Digital Divide: Ushering in the Second Digital Revolution Web site: http://www.digitaldivide.org
Kinzer, C.K. (2003, June). The importance of recognizing the expanding boundaries of literacy. Reading Online, 6(10). Available: http://www.readingonline.org/electronic/elec_index.asp?HREF=/electronic/kinzer/index.html
Leu, D. (2002). Internet Workshop: Making time for literacy. The Reading Teacher, 5(55), 466 472.
Leu, D., Leu, D. D., & Coiro, J. Including All Students on the Internet. Teaching With the Internet K-12: New Literacies for New Times. chapter 11. Available at http://www.sp.uconn.edu/~djleu/fourth/eleven.html
Retrieved April 16, 2009, from YouTube: The Digital Divide Still Exists and its Worse Than We Know Web site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3ibP7cU0dQ.
Zawilinski, L., Leu, D., & Other Members. "The C's of Change": An Extended Interview with Members of the New Literacies Research Lab. Available: http://www.ncte.org/magazine/extended