Do I have the needed technology?

SciJourn depends largely on students’ access to the Internet. In many schools we visit, there are computer labs, but access to those facilities is easier said than done. The preferable situation is to have in-class access to the web—something that we hope will be the norm in the not-too-distant future.

There are a few teachers who have worked around technological challenges by sending students to the local library or university, assuming they can do computer-based assignments at home, or by purchasing a wireless modem. The modem at least allows a teacher to do read-alouds or show articles on an overhead or white board.

The far more common problem, however, has to do with access to information. Schools have blocked not only sites, but also words. Try doing a story on breast or anal cancer when your key terms are censored! Similarly, in many schools with excellent computer access, students are not allowed to use email, which makes setting up an interview or interviewing an expert online nigh impossible.

Our best advice is to anticipate these problems ahead of time so that you don’t find yourself in the middle of a project, arguing with the principal or tech specialist as the students wait to proceed with their articles.

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