How to Become a Cyber Teacher
Now it is time to jump in. First you need to know what a webpage is. Surf the web. Try Yahoo or About or FIND Things. Now once you have a better idea of that webpage you want to build, look at the code of the page. The second thing you need to do is look at the code of the pages you view. Use the View feature on top line of browser and select page source or source to see code of page you are viewing. Copy the code you need or examine how it was written to write your own. Alter and modify the copied code with some help. HTML code is not copyrighted since it is open source, but the content of said page is copyrighted. Thirdly you must build a page on your computer and view via your browser or get a free web space.
How To: Some Tips and Tricks as practiced in my workshops:
Now if you haven't already toured Cyber English online or if you have, we will now make the hyperjump to Cyber English. From here you will get a quick overview and then find links to the syllaweb.
There may seem to be lots to do, now. Actually not. You need a web page. By now if you read "On Becoming a Netizen" above you should already be on the way. If not review it again and follow the links to create your own webpage. Once you have that and you have observed what other have done and maybe even spoken with some of them via email or in person especially at conferences then you are doing fine. One other trick is to find kids in your school or at home who know this stuff and have them teach you. I learned that way. One of the things I did early was to be the faculty advisor to the computer club. It was better than any grad course I ever took. Certainly the best way for you to begin integrating the Internet in your classroom is by being a netizen yourself. By modeling for your scholars, you will be learning and setting the tone of cooperation and collaboration. Both of these qualities are usually absent in the traditional class.
My year always began with three assignments, that is after we started the web page and created the paper template file. Making the homepage, which will look like this usually took a couple of days. I'd hand out a piece of paper with the code on it and the scholars would begin typing this gobbligook in and I'd explain to them what the code meant. When they saw their homepage on the web, they were mine. The obvious questions about design, color, graphics immediately arose and I had their attention. The second file involved creating the paper file, which will look like this. The purpose of the paper file was so that the work of the schoalrs wouod all have a uniform look, contain the essential information and serve as the foundation for each scholar to then customize each piece s/he did. So once these two files, the homepage and paper file were created we were ready to rock and roll.
The three initial projects were the I am, book review 1, and a poem on the Internet.
The "I am" was a bit more complicated then simply writing about one's self. I used the I am as a foundation piece for the whole year. I began my using the Gettysburg Address as a model of form. I liked how Lincoln spent so little time on the past, on sentence, and a little more time on the present, four sentences, and the bulk of his 5 minute speech on the future. It was what I wanted from my scholars, I wanted to know where they wanted to go and how they were going to get there. The past was incidental and the present was important only to know what was being done to prepare for the future. The next part of the lesson was to introduce them to their own genius and other characteristics. They were to use each of these qualities in their "I am" essays throughout the year. By year's end they were to have shown how each character quality and point of genius applied to them. I added quotes on occasion and provided links to other websites which might assist them in constructing an "I am" essay.
The first book review was their selection. They were to choose the most important book in their life. They were to choose their favorite book. They were to choose a book which helped us learn more about them and the review was to explain the importance of the book on them to the reader.
The first poem I wanted from them was to be one on the Internet. They were to read all about the Internet gather information and then write a poem. I wasn't interested in another essay on the Internet. Instead I wanted them to explore the language of the Internet in poetic terms and verse.
These three initial projects provided me with a good picture of my scholars. It showed me about their workhabits, it told me about them, the important stuff, and it got them immediately into the juggling nature of writing on the Internet. They quickly discovered that time and due dates were immaterial and that everything was always UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
My favorite project is the Hypertext Haiku. This project balances the technology and the literature in a very ZEN way. The scholars create five urban haiku and then link each haiku to the other four using hypertext. The scholars study about the haiku on the web site and then they construct five haiku. I ask them to write all five haiku on one side of one piece of paper. Then they isolate words in each haiku that might hint at one of the other four. They draw a circle around the word and draw an arrow to the haiku to which it refers. The paper becomes very messy, but oh so useful. The next step is have the scholars create a separate file for each haiku. As they write the haiku, they add hypertext links from a designated word to one of the four other haiku. The idea is to make the linked word serve as a segue to the new haiku. This example may serve as demonstration of how it works. Over the years we have had variations on this in each of the classes. In addition to getting my scholars involved, but I also engaged some teachers from NCTE to play around with it the summer of 97. During this project, it was very interesting as we discovered how the haiku just naturally connected and with minor word changes, the five haiku became one large hypertext project that was a beautiful blend of technology and art.
Another neat project is the short story project. It is comprised of three parts: read short stories, write one and then add hypertext to it. One of the important advantages in using the Internet in your class is that the scholars have access and they can publish their work. In this case we have access to so many more short stories than any book room in any school could provide. Essays about the short stories are published for peer review, but part two has the scholars creating their own short story.
© Ted Nellen 2000