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The purpose of this literature review is to examine what research and theory has informed us about using information and communication technologies (ICT), specifically the Internet, to support K-12 instruction. In the fall of 2000, 77% of K-12 classrooms in the United States has at least one computer with Internet access (Cattagni & Farris, 2001). This number has surely risen especially as programs such a E-rate, funded by the federal government, provided billions of dollars to schools for the purpose of establishing Internet connections (see www.fcc.gov/learnet).
When reviewing the existing literature, it becomes clear that while great emphasis has been on equipping classrooms with the Internet, not as much stress has been on understanding best practices for using the technology to support teaching and learning (CEO Forum, 1999). From a financial perspective, despite the U.S. Department of Educations’s strong recommendation that school districts spend at least 30% of their technology funds on staff development, most districts only invest about 6% (International Reading Association, 2001; U.S. Department of Education, 1996). This presents many problems as teachers do not feel well-prepared to use the Internet constructively with their students (NCWS, 1999). From a research perspective, there are very few published systematic explorations of how the Internet influences teaching and learning (Kamil, Intrator, & Kim, 2000). While there is an abundance of research examining reaching practices with other types of technology such as CD-Roms, hypertext, and word processing (see Okolo et al., 2000 for review), the lack of research related specifically to the Internet makes it difficult to make research-based claims as to the most appropriate methods of using the Internet to support existing K-12 curriculum.
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VCU MERC Publications