Although 11-year-olds said they enjoyed using the internet, researchers found they had learned little about the topic of the lesson.
Alan Pritchard and Victoria Cartwright watched 54 children produce an information sheet on the history of bicycles.
"When the children were told that they were going to be using the internet there were cries of delight and excitement," the researchers said.
But when they looked at the information sheets children had produced they discovered many had copied and pasted large extracts, in some cases without even reading it first.
Asked about the topic a few weeks later, children could remember little of what they had learned.
Literacy volume 38, number 1, April 2004Learning on the Net: a practical guide to enhancing learning in the primary classroom published by David Fulton