Research by the Laboratory Human Cognition (1989) indicated that telecommunication activities enable students to reflect on their own learning, to use writing as a tool of both communication and thought and to create social contexts that are not merely passive backgrounds for learning. Additional research by Tamashiro and Hagland (1987) highlights the risk-free expression, the focus upon content rather than personal or physical attributes and the cross-cultural, respect and curiosity that telecommunication activities foster. Male's (1997, ch. 11) work noted that the ability to communicate via telecommunications takes the pressure away from "real time" communications, i.e., it gives students time to read, think, reflect and construct substantially different messages than would occur in face-to-face interactions. Finally, my own informal observations indicate that students find Net-linked computer activities to be fun. As a result, such computers keep students motivated, they stay "on task" longer, they get more accomplished and teachers have fewer behavioral problems with which to deal. The question now becomes, what Internet resources exist and how can teachers use them?
|Concierge||Arts & Entertainment||Weather|
|Maps||City Information||People Finder|
|Search||Food & Drink||Yellow Pages|
|News & Media||Travel & Sights|
As such, users of this site, can easily gather information from "how to get there," to "where to stay," "what to do," "where to eat," and "what will the weather be like?" The second major type of Internet site is the categorical index. Such indexes constitute concerted efforts to identify and organize Internet information into logical categorical systems. "Yahoo" ("www.yahoo.com") represents one of the best such systems. This site allows users to either select, or search, hundreds prearranged categories of information. These categories range from "Arts and Humanities" to "People, Environment & Religion." Identified Internet sites have been carefully organized to aid the user in finding what they are looking for, in the least amount of time. A separate section of the index, called "Yahooligans"("www.yahooligans.com"), has been specifically constructed for children. Identified sites have been screened for objectionable material and include information on the following categories:
|Yellow Pages||School Bell|
|[Cultures, Politics, History]||[Programs, Homework Answers]|
|Art Soup||Science and Oddities|
|[Museums, Dramas, Dance]||[Space, Environment, Dinosaurs]|
|Computers, Games and Online||Sports and Recreation|
|[Shareware, Games, Web, Software]||[Events, Hobbies, Trivia]|
|[TV, Movies, Music, Magazines]||[Comics, Daily, Weather]|
While neither "Yahoo" or "Yahooligans" points to everything that is on the Net, they do point to some
of the best sites and their categorical system is extremely helpful in finding useful information.
While each of these site s may be an excellent location for information concerning literacy for use in K-12 deaf education, a user must go to each site, review their content (this can range from a single page to hundreds of pages) and decide if they have found what they were looking for. The resulting process is extremely time consuming and often fruitless. Therefore, while search engines may be fast and fairly comprehensive, they often provide both too much, and too little, information to be of practical use for the "time challenged" teacher.