Course Orientation/Reorientation

This is a distance learning course concentrating in uses of the Internet for teaching, learning and professional development. Throughout the course you will be asked to share promising practices, sites, and course feedback.

This is a distance learning course, concentrating on uses of the Internet for teaching, learning and professional development. It also is intended to give you enough web sites and leads-in to more web sites to be a continuously useful resource for your learning and doing.

Assessment is based on work you produce in series of essays/listings for each Essential Question or topic you "connect with," and with an annotated lists of sites supporting your views and reflecting your web work. Note the Rubric for Course Portfolio Assessment.

For instance, you might write “The site XXXX [] gave me a different perspective on how to help students learn _____. It also cleared up for me something I was confused about, and that is what educators mean by __________.” Certainly you would want to elaborate more.

This work may be emailed to me at, or snail-mailed to me at Chad C. Osborne 923 W. Mission St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. If you email the work, you may wish to put it in a Zip file, which compresses text and makes it easier to send over the 'Net.

GOOGLE [Top-rated single search engine]
DOGPILE [Top-rated multiple search engine]

  1. The text for this course, TEACHING WITH THE INTERNET, by Donald and Deborah Leu, Christopher-Gordon Publishers, 3rd edition, 2000, available for $38.95 + $3.95 s/h from AMAZON.COM.

    Sites from this text are TEXTBOOK SITES. Be sure to check out sites for each chapter as you read (or beforeyou read) them. Some of the most fruitful links in the course will be found here! [Click on "Sites In This Book."] The Key Chapters in the text are Chapters 4, 12, and whichever "special topics" in Chapters 5-9 relate to your teaching/curriculum/students. The remainder of the book should be read sufficiently to address Journal topics and to develop know-how in areas you sense you need.

  2. A second site with a vast array of links, and worth literal hours of exploring and bookmarking, is The Busy Teacher's Guide To the World Wide Web.
  3. The Discussion Board is primarily for you to post highlights of a JOURNAL and PORTFOLIO you will keep related to your reading and online work. Each chapter in the text opens with “E-mail for You” from the authors, a “Teaching With the Internet” classroom scenario, and a “Lessons from the Classroom” discussion.

    Your Journal is to record your commentary on the importance of Internet use relative to each of the following topics from the reading:

    1. The pace and quality of change.
    2. Internet use likely in students’ futures
    3. The social nature of learning and Internet use
    4. Integration with other portions of curriculum and teaching methods
    5. Acceptable Use Policies
    6. Potential Uses for e-mail, listservs, newsgroups—especially keypals
    7. Internet Workshops, Activities, Projects, and Inquiry
    8. Adapting to use of a single computer in the classroom
    9. English/Language Arts
    10. Social Studies
    11. Science
    12. Mathematics
    13. Primary Grades
    14. Multicultural education
    15. Equity [Computer use for all students
    16. Developing a Class Home Page

  4. As soon as possible, subscribe to: CONVERGE MAGAZINE. [Fill out the Free Subscription form. This site also has online articles and back issues, A+ resource!] At this site, you should read some of the articles pertaining to your interests and course objectives.

    Consider the following Warning:


    You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others, will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself-educating your own judgment. Those that stay must remember, always and all the time, that they are being molded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this society. ~Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

    React on the Discussion Board

  5. An underlying assumption for this course is that the current "teaching-to-the-test" furor is based both on false ideas [see DEPTH vs. "COVERAGE" in TEACHING and STANDARDIZED TESTS] and on little understood historical and political factors behind current schooling and standardized testing [see final section/inquiry]. Understanding that teaching to the test is less effective than striving for understanding and depth can open your classroom to use of the Internet in ways that support your best and highest teaching.

  6. A site for useful for "depth" orientation is the CREATIVITY page.

  7. A second re-orientation web page calls on you to Reflect Upon Your Teaching Practice Become a [free!] registered member for access to all the tools and resources from this terrific site from Project Zero's TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING work!

  8. A principal theme in this course will be the implications of CHANGE for teachers and learners. Read about this in the article SUCCESS IN THE INFORMATION AGE: A Paradigm Shift, and respond with your speculations about the implications for the roles for computers, teachers and students. We will write about this on the Discussion Board and talk about it & brainstorm in class. Go in depth to the links referring to Toffler, where possible, to understand the relationship between the Second and Third Waves.

    ALSO, read THE RISE OF INTEGRAL CULTURE, a long [12 page] essay theorizing the emergence of a Transmodern culture.

  9. COMPUTERS AS TUTORS: Solving the Crisis in Education is an on-line book with many powerful insights about the need for new ways of looking at how we use computers in education.

  10. The PBS Series DIGITAL DIVIDE has links exploring the differences in schools ans students with and without computer use integrated in the classroom.

  11. E-mail can become an amazingly fruitful and productive resource for your classes now and in the future. To get a sense of this, visit sites in this on-line Chapter 3 from Teaching With The Internet. Post thoughts on possible applications and extensions through our course Discussion Board.

  12. Many teachers find "ask-an-expert" to be a great single computer activity. See if you can find some useful for your subject and level.

  13. Most chapters refer to Web Quests. Survey links at QUESTING the WEB will lead you to literally hundreds of examples of Web Quests in all subjects, at all levels!


    1. Creating Web Pages will give you sufficient tools and resources you need to create a web/class home page--for parents and students.
    2. INTERNET INSERVICE CLASS For EDUCATORS -- Very useful links from this Syracuse, New York inservice program.
    3. Tech Tips Mega-useful site from an Ohio high school teacher
    5. Custom Classroom -- Free tools
    6. FREE! Easily develop homework assignments and class information, posting it on the Web!
    7. Teacher Tools Page -- On-line tools for making quizzes, puzzles, rubrics, webquests, and more.
    8. HTML BASICS will give you basics for editing the format of web pages.


      Regarding research on computer use in classrooms, much research remains to be done. The effort to find the most appropriate and intelligent uses of computer technology for teachers and learners is "still under construction." It is possible, though, to find numerous examples of promising ways teachers and students and teachers are using computers; below is a collection of many sites for doing just this. The first two sites give the most up-to-date research findings. Others are fruitful sites for seeing some of the most intelligent and appropriate uses of computers by teachers:


    2. Articles on Recent Distance Learning Research

    3. WEB LESSON PLANS [By Subject]

      On Sites 3-15, work for depth and authentic learning, instead of "coverage."

    4. Ten Ways To Use Technology in Your Classroom



    7. EXPLORING COMPUTERS -- Check Sites from Pop-Up Menu!


    9. tech.LEARNING

    10. EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES [Key Chapter from course textbook]




    14. FUN BRAIN [Source for learning games]

    Subscribe to one of the following ListServs, or one of your choice[our textbook suggests many]:

    1. OneList


    3. Liszt, The Mailing List Directory


    Investigate links from this Web Based Learning Resource Library and then select and surf through some of the following to anticipate possible futures in web use at your school:

    1. Western Cooperative Home Page



    4. EdWeb HOME PAGE

    5. LearnWell On-line


    7. FROMNOWON Subject Index



    10. WRITENET


    12. WEB MONKEY for KIDS [Helps students construct web pages]




    HERITAGE ON-LINE: Continuing Education for K-12 Teachers









    First, reprint and carefully read and respond to The Origins of Compulsory Education - by John Gatto, which suggests a true but little known series of historical contexts for today's testing controversy. Respond to the article on the discussion board.

    Then read and respond to the following:

    Advocates of school reform would do well to consider the "Hard Truths" the “deep structure of schooling,” Barbara Benham Tye explores in her book by this title (Teachers College Press, 2000). Consistent with the failure of past reform cycles to last beyond a three to five year cycle, and the lack of transfer of successful practices from one context to another, Tye’s insights help explain why what can hope to be changed in schools are the “personality factors”—moving pieces around within a box. The box, the deep structure, is not simply the factory-like structure of school organization, or the persistence of teacher-centered classroom traditions. Tye asserts it is the “conventional wisdom” of unexamined assumptions held in our culture. The ones she enumerates are

    1. Schools are chaotic, dangerous places.
    2. Teaching is an easy job, with lots of time off.
    3. Too much money is spent on schools.
    4. Schools today are not doing a good job of teaching the basics.
    5. A quiet classroom is one where learning is taking place. 6. The most effective teaching is traditional frontal, and teacher-directed.
    7. Children should be grouped by age and ability.
    8. Parents should participate in running the schools.
    Given these unexamined assumptions, and the influence they have in current society, is it any wonder that we have growing movements in

    Charter Schools

    Homeschooling, and


    High Stakes testing and the increasing teacher shortage are sure to fuel the continued growth of these movements.

    Here is a final reading to consider in this inquiry. Think about the role of thinking time in your own learning; of privacy and solitude, of this diminishing and essential ingredient of intelligence and intellectual and emotional growth. React to the reading on the discussion board and in this inquiry.

    Excerpt from Why Schools Don’t Educate
    by John Taylor Gatto
    This is from the text of a speech by John Taylor Gatto accepting the New York City Teacher of the Year Award on January 31, 1990.

    Here is the calculus of time the children I teach must deal with:

    1. Out of the 168 hours in each week, my children sleep 56. That leaves them 112 hours a week out of which to fashion a self.
    2. My children watch 55 hours of television a week according to recent reports. That leaves them 57 hours a week in which to grow up.
    3. My children attend school 30 hours a week, use about 6 hours getting ready, going and coming home, and spend an average of 7 hours a week in homework - a total of 45 hours. During that time, they are under constant surveillance, have no private time or private space, and are disciplined if they try to assert individuality in the use of time or space.
    4. That leaves 12 hours a week out of which to create a unique consciousness.
    5. Of course, my kids eat, and that takes some time - not much, because they've lost the tradition of family dining, but if we allot 3 hours a week to evening meals,
    6. we arrive at a net amount of private time for each child of 9 hours [per week!].

I want to tell you what the effect is on children of taking all their time from them - time they need to grow up - and forcing them to spend it on abstractions. You need to hear this, because no reform that doesn't attack these specific pathologies will be anything more than a facade.

1. The children I teach are indifferent to the adult world. This defies the experience of thousands of years. A close study of what big people were up to was always the most exciting occupation of youth, but nobody wants to grow up these days and who can blame them? Toys are us.
2. The children I teach have almost no curiosity and what they do have is transitory; they cannot concentrate for very long, even on things they choose to do. Can you see a connection between the bells ringing again and again to change classes and this phenomenon of evanescent attention?
3. The children I teach have a poor sense of the future, of how tomorrow is inextricably linked to today. As I said before, they have a continuous present, the exact moment they are at is the boundary of their consciousness.
4. The children I teach are ahistorical, they have no sense of how past has predestined their own present, limiting their choices, shaping their values and lives.
5. The children I teach are cruel to each other, they lack compassion for misfortune, they laugh at weakness, and they have contempt for people whose need for help shows too plainly.
6. The children I teach are uneasy with intimacy or candor. My guess is that they are like many adopted people I've known in this respect - they cannot deal with genuine intimacy because of a lifelong habit of preserving a secret inner self inside a larger outer personality made up of artificial bits and pieces of behavior borrowed from television or acquired to manipulate teachers. Because they are not who they represent themselves to be the disguise wears thin in the presence of intimacy so intimate relationships have to be avoided.
7. The children I teach are materialistic, following the lead of schoolteachers who materialistically "grade" everything - and television mentors who offer everything in the world for free.
8. The children I teach are dependent, passive, and timid in the presence of new challenges. This is frequently masked by surface bravado, or by anger or aggressiveness but underneath is a vacuum without fortitude.

I could name a few other conditions that school reform would have to tackle if our national decline is to be arrested, but by now you will have grasped my thesis, whether you agree with it or not. Either schools have caused these pathologies, or television, or both. It's a simple matter [of] arithmetic, between schooling and television all the time the children have is eaten away. That's what has destroyed the American family, it is no longer a factor in the education of its own children. Television and schooling, in those things the fault must lie.

Gatto's book, The Underground History of American Education (Oxford Village Press, 2000), gives complete background and sources for understanding the intentional "dumbing down" of public education to create a consumer and working class basis for commercial profit. Gatto says it was not a conspiracy as such that brought this about, but numerous factors and the implicit bargain of giving up our freedom and quality schooling in exchange for prosperity and a higher material quality of life. It is now becoming apparent, however, that the bar is set too low for either human good or the future prosperity of corporations.

When you have completed the course work, mail it to

Dr. Chad C. Osborne
923 West Mission St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101