Hyperlinks, WWW and 2nd graders

What are hyperlinks? What is the world wide web(www)? How can I relate all I’ve been reading to my second graders? I really didn’t know where to start and even as I read various articles I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. But this evening I got my daily update from Diigo in Education and followed one of the links. I was interested in learning more about Warren McCullough’s Web Stuff – ICT Supporting the Curriculum. From there I looked at School intranets. I did some exploring on a student page and teacher page and then went to Intranet K-6. (This also reminded me to ask our tech staff about electronic portfolios.) I continued to explore and look at the library page where I found Interlace. I continued my quest when I saw Dinosaurs, a topic my second graders are presently learning about. I already was familiar with Zoom Dinosaurs but found some other great links. One that I plan on using with my second graders this coming week is Dinosaur Database from the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Not only can this be a resource about dinosaurs but I can use it to help explain to the students what is the www and what is a hyperlink.

So, here is the beginning of my lesson for this week. Today we are going to be looking at a new internet site about dinosaurs. But before we look at the site, I want to tell you a story. As you know I am taking a class about technology.(I leave school early once a month for the class.) I do a lot of reading and the other night I was looking on the internet for information that would help me as your teacher trying to use technology in our class. I get daily updates about articles that other teachers around the world find interesting. I look at some of them, read some and ignore some. One of those articles caught my eye and sent me on a delightful path. The article sent me to a site from Australia. When I got to the site, I started to click on some of the links that were there. When you click on some words that are highlighted, they take you to a different page, that is called a hyperlink. I eventually came to this page.

Screen shot to highlight links

Since we are studying dinosaurs I am always on the lookout for some new and interesting websites. We already use Zoom dinosaurs so I knew I didn’t have to look there. But the Dinosaur Database looked interesting so I clicked on it.  This hyperlink took me here, where we will be spending some time today.

Dinosaur Overview

But, before we look at those “terrible lizards” I want you to think about this. We live in Japan, I was looking at information someone in Australia wrote, that led me to a Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, USA. All of this information is collected in various databases where anyone can search for it. Knowing how to search and where to search are important skills we will continue to work on this year and every year. Now, let’s find out about Bucky the teenage t-rex.

There will be some discussion involved during this presentation, but obviously this is just the beginning and I know my students will be anxious to see the dinosaurs.

There were various other tidbits I gleaned this week in the reading. 20 Things I Learned About Browser and the Web had me checking my privacy settings on my browser and learning about some of the apps available for my browser. I am not sure that I agree with one of the statements from the article, “The movement of many of our daily tasks online enables us to live more fully in the real world.” I have to wonder how often we become so engrossed in a game, texting, a search or what we are doing online we forget to live in the real world. I remember a few years ago sitting at a McDonald’s restaurant watching a “couple” who were obviously on a date, but were both texting other people on their phones. Overall the article gave a lot of interesting and easy to digest information about what is the web.

A book, not on our reading this week, that I would highly recommend is Web Literacy for Educators by Alan November. It is easy to read (I read the entire book this weekend and also attended a concert, church and a council meeting. I wasn’t just reading!)  and has easy to follow lessons/activities for the reader and for students. We can either prepare students to tap into the most powerful tool yet created or allow them free reign without the necessary resources to understand or interpret what they find on the web. I hope that I am able to challenge the students who I work with to be responsible learners, discerning thinkersproductive collaborators,effective communicators and faithful caretakers who can use the tools available to learn and share their learning with others.



6 thoughts on “Hyperlinks, WWW and 2nd graders

  1. I enjoyed your particle example of using the hyperlinks to find materials for your class as I often find myself doing the exact same thing. However, I am curious to know how do you teach students about hyperlinks and the possibilities they provide? I will be introducing my students to this topic after the break and would love some ideas.

  2. Well, I started today with an example from Zoom dinosaurs. The students each have a topic they are researching and I showed them how if you hover over a hyperlink the cursor changes and the link is a different color. With 2nd graders it is a little at a time. The difficulty is that often the links go to sites that are above their reading level. I’ll let you know if what else we do as we learn it.

    • This is a great post, Jean. I liked reading about the process both from your perspective and also understanding the way in which you communicated it to your class. Whilst the students I teach are older, I often think a more regular ‘time-out’ is needed from the content of the lesson to discuss and reflect on the nature of the powerful tools that we are using. There is also the assumption that every student is speaking the same navigational ‘language’ of the internet but this isn’t always the case. You have made me reflect on the potential for older students to present a ‘screen shot’ story or reflection of their own approaches to using and navigating with links. This could enlighten both the emerging learners in the class and me, as the oldest emerging learner 🙂

      • Thanks Madeleine. We briefly looked at the site this week. I’m not sure how much they understood, but I know that they do know how to use hyper-links from our class blog and also the past 2 weeks they’ve been doing some “research” on the Zoom Dinosaurs website. They are also learning how to trouble shoot the Netbooks that we use in the classroom. Basically we are an Apple school, but we have a set of Netbooks that the lower grades are using. There is no log in which is nice, but often it doesn’t connect to the correct wifi network. They’re learning how to find the network. Step-by-step we’re all learning.

        You are probably right it is a good idea to step back now and then, although most of your students are digital natives they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. It might be an opportunity for someone to shine who is normally quiet but knows a lot about technology.

  3. Glad to see that connections are working well for you, and I hope that your students were able to start to build an understanding about hyperlinks. While they likely understand the basics of the mechanics behind them, it will likely take some time for them to develop some critical thinking around why certain things are linked to others and what that can tell them about the original source.

    • My students and I are learning together. It is great to see them begin to trouble shoot some of the challenges with the netbooks we use and help one another. I know in second grade the critical thinking isn’t that highly developed, but at least they can be aware of some of these things.

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