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The Internet and Problem-Based Learning: A New Resource for Connected Classrooms


Share Using the Internet for problem solving introduces new dimensions to teaching. A new book, The Internet and Problem-Based Learning: Developing Solutions Through the Web, will help you explore those dimensions -- and share them with your students!

The Internet and Problem-Based Learning: Developing Solutions Through the Web, by William J. Stepien, Peter R. Senn, and William C. Stepien, is simply full of ill-structured problems. But wait -- that's OK! In fact, it's a good thing. Ill-structured problems, say the authors of this extremely practical book, are like real-life problems:

They

  • are messy and incapable of being fully understood when first encountered.
  • change their nature as more is discovered about them.
  • defy solution by simple formula.
  • require careful consideration of the fit between solution and problem.
  • illustrate the difficulty of being sure one has the "right answer," because data can be missing or in conflict, even after exhaustive investigation.
Such ill-structured problems -- from "Stop the Frankenfood Monster" to "What Should Be Done About Galileo?" -- are just the kind your students need to be able to solve!

A BLUEPRINT FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING

So what do you, as the teacher, do with these ill-structured, real-world problems for middle and high school students? That isn't a problem. The Internet and Problem-Based Learning provides a complete blueprint of the instructional process, clearly detailing the steps teachers should take to organize and facilitate the activities. The blueprint includes suggestions for developing and managing in-class activities, out-of-class assignments, discussion topics, learning resources, essential questions, and instructional techniques.

In addition, the authors provide the resources students need to investigate the problem, consider the issues, and arrive at a solution. Those resources include a set of five "problem logs," or work sheets, for each unit. The logs guide students through the unit's problem-solving process, with headings such as "Beginning Your Investigation," "Thinking About Your Thinking," "Deepening Your Understanding," and "Your Suggestions." The logs even include the URLs for relevant Web sites!

Each set of logs, along with a description of the problem and an explanation of the student's stake in the problem, can be copied and distributed to every student. Perforated unit pages would have made removal easier, but careful tearers should not have too much difficulty removing them from this paper-backed book.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Show and Tell!

Show and Tell

Do you have a favorite problem-based Internet learning activity? Share it with other teachers on a new Education World message board.

The value of The Internet and Problem-Based Learning: Developing Solutions Through the Web isn't limited to the eight actual activities it provides. The book also offers general information on problem-based learning and on using the Internet as an instructional tool. In addition, the appendixes include a glossary, step-by-step directions for creating your own problem-based learning units, as well as sections on how the Internet works, on how search engines work (including information about the differences among the various types of search engines and recommendations for special search engines for challenged learners), and on responsible use of the Internet. In fact, if it isn't here, chances are you won't ever need to know it!

This book makes using the Internet for problem-based learning a no-brainer for teachers -- and a valuable, thought-intensive activity for students. Whether you are an IT veteran or a struggling "newbie," The Internet and Problem-Based Learning: Developing Solutions Through the Web is a resource that will help you integrate technology into your curriculum in a way that makes learners out of your students!

The Internet and Problem-Based Learning: Developing Solutions Through the Web is available in bookstores everywhere. If you are unable to locate it, ask your bookseller to order it for you or contact the publisher directly.

  • The Internet and Problem-Based Learning: Developing Solutions Through the Web, written by William J. Stepien, Peter R. Senn, and William C. Stepien, is published by Zephyr Press, P.O. Box 66006, Tucson, AZ 85728-6006.

Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2000 Education World

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05/08/2000