The TASK was to find out how pupils are using the internet inside and outside the classroom. It asked that from non-intrusive conversations with pupils consider the following:
- what they are using the Internet for when not directed by the educator
- what skills have they developed for negotiating the www
- which of these skills have been formally taught in school
- which of these skills have they aquired for themselves (or from their peers)
- how much time do they actually spend accessing the Internet
I decided to put out a survey as the students didn't have to put their name to it, but I would ask them to identify their gender and year group.
The first question I broke down into areas I was interested in seeing if used by students - email; chat roooms (such as Facebook and Beebo); gaming; music; films; photos;following or updating websites; Blogs; homework; personal hobby/interest or something else.
The second, third and fourth question were as stated above. The fifth question I split into how much time they access the Internet when NOT at school - after school, during a weekday, and during the weekends. The answers were quite surprising to me.
There was a good cross section of male and female students from year 7 to year 11.
There was only 1 student that recorded rather excesive hours on a daily basis but then they also commented that they didn't really use the Internet as much at the weekend as they were always out!
Of the skills learnt at school, only 2 raised the fact that safety issues had been learnt/taught at school.
The majority appear to think that school hasn't taught them many skills at all and, in fact, that they have picked them up mostly themsleves, or with a little help from peers.
Most stated that they did homework/homework research on the Internet alongside emails, chat (such as Beebo, etc), and games. Some downloaded music or films and only a few had heard of Blogs. Only 1 student had their own Blog!
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From this I realised that most students don't appear to use the Internet to excess, or maybe they believe they don't - perhaps if they timed themselves, they might find different? Then it made me wonder if maybe it's that their parents/guardians have a strict limit on how long they are allowed to spend on line.
The safety issue doesn't seem to be of a high interest or to be of noteable value in a skill learnt at school. Is this because we don't "push it enough"? Or do the students not think of it as something that has been taught them? Maybe as a school we should look into this issue and make it a higher priority - especially after reading the Byron Report!!
Maybe the safety aspect doesn't evolve at school due to the filtering that is in place, but this is not in place at home one would assume and therefore students still need educating about this issue. I often overhear students complaining that a particular site has been 'blocked'!!
Will bring this up in the near future! An interesting result and would be even more interesting if done over the whole school!