Getting the Most from the Internet
This module is meant to summarize and expand upon the previous three, which were Privacy and You, The Internet and Chet, and Say? Cheese!. After explaining some of the possible dangers and downsides of the Internet, we aim to show positive aspects of the Internet, including research, social interactions, learning, commerce, and fun.
Students will be able to:
- Recognize that the Internet is a valuable tool in most pursuits.
- Identify how they can use the Internet for their own enrichment.
- Handout: Use Your Tools Wisely
- Video: Getting the Most from the Internet, http://brk.mn/148
- Parent Handout: Getting the Most from the Internet
- Internet Use Brainstorm: 15 min
- Use Your Tools Wisely: 10 min
Whenever you encourage or require students to go online while teaching this or other material, please make sure any online activity is consistent with any school, district, or other applicable policies, as well as any applicable privacy laws and regulations.
Internet Use Brainstorm 
Note: this can be turned into a multi-day activity by asking students to monitor and reflect on their own Internet use at home over the days before the activity.
ASK students to think about how the Internet allows them to do things they wouldn’t have been able to do before its invention. Digital natives may have difficulty imagining what life was like without constant and instant connectivity. Some questions to get them started:
- “How do you talk with your friends outside of school? How would you do that without a smartphone or computer?”
- “When you have a question your parents can’t answer? How would you find the answer without a smartphone or computer?”
Watch video: http://brk.mn/148
ASK “Which uses of the Internet did Ruff mention that we hadn’t listed?”
- We list all the uses Ruff lists in the video.
- Make stuff.
- Learn stuff (e.g., sweater knitting, baseball hitting, etc.).
- Buy stuff. – Keep in touch with friends.
- Share things about yourself.
- Watch cat videos.
- Keeping in touch with your friends.
Use Your Tools Wisely 
Pass out “Use Your Tools Wisely” handout (p. 62-63), and have students work in pairs, discussing the pros and cons of each solution out loud. Debate the answers as a class. There are some circumstances where the Internet would prevent learning, but it can also provide many easily accessible resources.
- Have students break into groups of 3-4 and write their own song for Ruff’s musical (featured in the video “Getting the Most from the Internet”: http://brk.mn/148). It should involve a use for the Internet that Ruff hasn’t yet mentioned. For younger groups, print out copies of the existing lyrics, and have students write extra verses, elaborating on uses already mentioned.
- Have students choose an interesting use of the Internet (research for school project, shopping for a sibling’s birthday gift, helping a family member find a restaurant, making new friends and making an art project together), and develop a project showcasing what the Internet can do. Depending on what you’ve recently covered in class, this could range from writing a research report to making a poster to giving a short presentation. This can be a good opportunity to discuss how to cite sources and what makes a good example for an argument.
- Parent Handout: Getting the Most from the Internet (p. 64)
- Distribute to students and ask them to discuss healthy technology usage habits with their family members.