High School Students and World Wide Web Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

High School Students and World Wide Web

This is a research proposal about the problems of high school students

The use of World Wide Web by high school students to complete school assignments is now becoming a common practice. This study aims to find the problems and difficulties that students have using the World Wide Web as their primary source of information. The students who use World Wide Web as their primary source have difficulty evaluating whether the information on a web site was scholarly. In addition there is a growing problem of plagiarism, students are taking information off the Internet without attribution. The research considered Perry's scheme of Student Development, the unique nature of Internet and other literature to validate claims of evaluating scholarly information and Plagiarism. It was discovered that students actually use a good variety of resources, including libraries, articles and papers on the Internet to find information for school assignment. However the students were weak at determining the quality of the information they found of the web sites. Further it was discovered the students use resources, paragraphs and sentences as it from the web without attribution and as their own. The students have little or no idea how to evaluate the information or they used problematic criteria.

Problem Formulation

The emergence of the World Wide Web has created another information resource for conducting research, making assignments and using it as a primary source. The World Wide Web is a wonderful tool for individuals and organization that want to reach a large number of people resource for finding information on current events. However the lack of traditional gate keeping that print material has used to filter information such as editor and peer reviewing is for the most part missing on the World Wide Web. In addition Students are not using information but are copying the available information. There is no valid criteria or method as how to find out about the authenticity of the material. This puts users of the Web in the position of having to be their own gatekeepers of information. This has presented challenges in particular to students who are trying to find scholarly or factual information on the Web are not able to evaluate the information they find. More bothersome is the fact that many students are not aware of proper methods of evaluating the Web and may not be aware that they need to do so.

A study was conducted of a group of high school students and they were asked questions about how they used the Internet to find information for school assignments. The students were asked in particular about how hey went on finding information and how they knew if the information they found on the web was scholarly or factual. The purpose of the study was thus to gain understanding the hoped that the results would help school, public and academic teachers understand how high school students use the Web in research. By understanding how high school students use and evaluate the Web, it will help teachers to evaluate and deal with the research needs of the students. The results of the study indicated that Internet usage has increased considerably among high school students and their ability to evaluate the information they find on the Internet is weak.

The research is based on the theoretical framework of Perry's Scheme of Student Development and the problems caused by the advent of the Internet and the lack of a system for determining the validity of information on it. According to Perry's Scheme students in the first two stages, which describe the vast majority of high school students, either seek out authorities to give them answers or see all viewpoints as equally valid. The nature of the Web and the difficulty it presents in verifying information means that students in the early stages of Perry's Scheme are going to have difficulty in using the Web appropriately. Further the teachers will also have difficulty in judging the students and evaluating their ability.

Review of Literature

William Perry in his Scheme of Student Development proposed that students go through four stages of development in their critical thinking skills. These are dualism, multiplicity, contextual relativism, and dialectic. These stages serve as transforming stages and the students after going through them become more sophisticated critical thinkers. The students change their views about the nature of knowledge as they progress. Their view of authority changes as well and it impacts how they think teachers and other sources of information.

The first level of the Perry's Scheme is of dualism. In this stage a students believes that all questions have definite right and wrong answers. In this level a students expects that his/her teacher will provide him with the right answer and their job, as a student is to memorize this answer [Perry 1970]. The tendency among these students is to accept everything they read in the textbooks at face value. The students do not see themselves as interpreters or creators of knowledge and do not believe they are capable of determining what the right answer is on their own

In the second level of Perry's Scheme is of multiplicity. In this second stage students no longer accept anything at face value and believe that questions may in fact have multiple answers and there can be multiple ways of interpreting things. However they give all opinions the same weight because the students are unable to choose between competing opinions. To these students everything is relative and knowledge is never certain. Thus they see different opinions as valid and just another expression of things. These students see the teacher as a guide through the variety of equally valid opinions [Perry 1970].

The final two stages of Perry's Scheme are beyond high school students and many undergraduate college students as well. These stags are of contextual relativism and dialectic. In this stage students realize that opinions need support to gain validity. Thus in the dialectic stage the students view the problem from variety of different ways and viewpoints and recognize that best answers for questions depend on which approach the question is being asked from. In this research the study deals specifically with the first two stages of the students, which describe the vast majority of the high school students and their behavior.

Today's society is defined by the advance technology, particularly the information technology. The concept of literacy and knowledge is fast changing and everything is becoming virtual. Internet has opened new horizons, but it has also affected the students and other areas of academia. The nature of World Wide Web makes it difficult for students who are in the first two stages of Perry's Scheme to use the Web effectively. Either these students tend to take material from the web wholly or have difficulty evaluating it. The books on the other hand have traditional forms of validity and about their authenticity. The Web with its unique nature of having no authority and accessibility of usage and been used as a tool has resulted in a plethora of material. Thus it has lost the gate keeping function, anyone can put material on the web and the students accessing it as a source of information are cast in the role of having to determine if something is valid or true on their own. For students from dualistic or multiplicity stages this is hard to do successfully. In addition they fall prey to the seduction of words and invariably copy the material [Baule 1997].

The advent of Internet is changing our concept and our views of literacy and knowledge. It has been the most significant occurrence in the production delivery of information since the invention of the printing press. The printing press broke the hold of the authority of Church and learned societies to monopolize the process of distribution of books. The printing of new and variety of books on different subjects gave rise to new types of knowledge. The same way the advent of Internet is least to say revolutionary for information. Now instead of publishing industry deciding which writings gets published, the individual decides. The nature of Web is such that any individual with small or no amount can publish whatever he likes [Jacobson 1997]. In addition Internet is cheap and widely available technology, within a decade of the emergence of the Web its reach is nearly universal in western culture. Thus the Internet is filled with information and it is difficult in validating information and this has created huge problems for seekers of information and scholars. There has not been enough time for the World Wide Web to develop a system of authenticating the information that is on the Web. The high school students of today have come of age in this new information revolution and from the time they started elementary school the Internet existed. These students are using computers from their early school and for them Internet has become the source of primary information as well…

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