Schools beware – Challenges of integrating internet in to K-12 curriculum

Internet and technology driven globalized economy has revolutionized the way in which education is being delivered in schools and colleges. Internet is being integrated in to the curriculum from Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) to provide the learners with an enhanced learning experience. It is important for the schools to consider the risks involved in integrating internet with the curriculum while looking at the positive effects of technology.

Schools should consider the following risks involved and some solutions to minimize the risks before incorporating internet in to K-12 curriculum.

First and foremost risk of integrating internet in to the curriculum is exposing students to objectionable or inappropriate material. While accessing the internet for obtaining information, students might land up on websites devoted to pornography, hate groups and other inappropriate contents that are inapt for children at various maturity levels.

It is important for schools to consider other risks of integrating internet in to curriculum. Children using technology can fall prey to cyberbullying or end up interacting with unknown people or online predators thereby losing their own privacy. Children might use dubious websites providing inaccurate and biased information leading to inapt learning. Schools should also consider that if the teachers do not integrate the technology completely in to the classroom curriculum, then the children might end up using the internet for entertainment and other cultural reasons rather than for educational purposes.

Internet provides a large array of resources including useful and inappropriate contents. It is very important for schools to continuously monitor and mentor the children about usage of technology to achieve the objective of enhanced learning experience. Schools can counter the risks of integrating technology in curriculum by defining the internet usage policies combined with a regular check on digital violations by the children. It is advisable to educate children about how to use the technology in a responsible and beneficial way rather than punishing them by putting restrictions on internet access.

Teachers and Schools should essentially:

  1. Teach children and keep them aware of effective ways of acquiring information, decision making skills and techniques of self-control to behave safely and responsibly while using internet,
  2. Monitor and mentor student’s actions online
  3. Implement filtering software to block websites that have been considered unacceptable for children. Though most of the filtering or security tools are highly effective.
  4. Frequently check for digital violations and take immediate actions to address the loopholes.

The key to effective integration of internet in to K-12 curriculum lies in making the kids aware of the effective and risk free ways of using the technology.