Esl and Internet Review

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Based on my research proposal topic which is on the influence of internet to students’ ESL learning, I have picked three journal articles that are related to my topic and make a critical review of the articles. The review is aimed to critically evaluate and comment on the three articles to help me in pursuing to finishing my research proposal.

The first journal article entitled Does Home Internet Use Influence the Academic Performance of Low Income Children? by Linda A. Jackson, Alexander von Eye, Frank A. Biocca, Gretchen Barbatsis, Yong Zhao and Hiram E. Fitzgerald from Michigan State University. The purpose of the article is to investigate the influence of home internet use to the academic performance of low income children by the usage of a longitudinal field study called HomeNetToo. I think this article is worth to be reviewed because it includes a comparison of the influence that internet has on the children’s performance between reading and mathematics and the findings show positive results on the reading side than mathematics, thus is suitable to relate with my research topic. I choose this article too because I think there are enough criticisms I could point out such as its strengths and weaknesses.

Preceding the study, the authors manage to find out from other researches regarding the application of computer-based technology in school learning and the researches show inconclusive findings because the results vary. Rochelle and colleagues suggest that positive effects are most likely to emerge when technology is used to support the four fundamentals of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connections to real-world contexts (Jackson, Eye, Biocca, Barbatsis, Zhao & Fitzgerald, 2006).

Participants in the HomeNetToo project were 140 children residing in a midsize urban community in the Midwestern United States (Jackson, Eye, Biocca, Barbatsis, Zhao & Fitzgerald, 2006). Basically the participants were children from low-income families and given internet access for the period of study. The measures of the study is internet use; time online, number of sessions, number of domains visited and number of emails sent per day. The time of the study is up to 16 months. The findings show that children who use internet more had higher GPAs compared to those who use less. The results also demonstrate specifically the children’s reading performance is heightened compared to mathematics which show no effect on standardized test scores. It is explained that the children spend time online with more reading than communicating with peers. As the web paged are mainly texts, the children tend to do more reading thus contributing higher GPAs and enhanced performance on standardized tests of reading. Therefore it is evident that the children’s reading skills are fully utilized when they are online. However, results may be different if the study is done on middle-class and upper-middle class children.

In my opinion, I think this article succeeds to achieve its purpose in finding out the influence internet contributes on children from low-income families. The strength of the article is that the research manages to clearly depict the difference of effects internet gives between children’s reading and mathematics. Moreover, the article demonstrates that the children are intrinsically motivated to read because web pages are mainly text based so in order for them to gather information, they must read. That is why their reading skills are fully utilized. However in my point of view I think the article explains a lot on the sociodemographic characteristics especially the race towards the end of the article while I think that is not the main focus of the study. I think it would be much more suitable if the research compares between children from low-income families and children from middle class and upper middle class and see how the results come out. This would be better to...
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