The Benefits of the Internet in Education
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The Internet is a powerful learning tool that students of all ages may benefit from. As professionals and housewives join online universities, doctors and nurses use Personal Digital Assistants and nursing informatics that are based on the Internet not only to ease communication but also to access critical information. As a matter of fact, all professions that rely on ongoing education may benefit from the Internet. No longer is classroom education considered a necessity. Moreover, research findings have revealed that students are nowadays increasingly using the Internet as a fundamental study aid both inside and outside the classroom (Lenhart, Simon, & Graziano, 2001).
In the year 2000, a study was conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project to understand the benefits of the Internet in education. A total of 754 students between the ages, 12 to 17, were interviewed as part of the study. According to the findings, 94% of students were using the Internet to conduct school research, while 78% believed that the Internet truly assists them with school work. Additionally, 71% of the students reported that they were using the Internet as an important source for their school reports as well as projects. A total of 41% mentioned that they used the Internet to contact their classmates in addition to teachers with essential questions related to school work. What is more, 34% of the students reported that they had downloaded online study aids, while 58% reported their use of websites that had been set up especially for their schools or particular classes (Lenhart, Simon, & Graziano).
Of course, the benefits of the Internet for students are not limited to teenagers. College and university students are similarly known to benefit from the Internet. This method of retrieving information is quite popular also because it allows students to learn what they are not taught in the classroom. Online libraries may be easily accessed by students of all ages. These libraries are often considered better than the conventional brick and mortar libraries where it is relatively difficult to find information. Furthermore, the Internet allows parents to easily communicate with the teachers of their children (Lenhart, Simon, & Graziano). Research suggests that children whose parents take interest in their education are more motivated to study hard.
An illustration of the advantages of the Internet in the school environment is the experiment created by the School District of Philadelphia and the Microsoft Corporation – School of the Future. This paperless campus was opened in September 2006 with an Interactive Learning Center that replaced the traditional library. Students carried laptops in this educational environment, with no sign of textbooks. They were provided access to streaming media content, produced by many content experts on a variety of subjects. Administrators of the School of the Future delivered announcements to students through live video broadcasts that all students could watch on their individual laptops (Hall, 2007)
In the classroom of the paperless school, there was a virtual teaching assistant that provided teachers with online tracking to target each student’s progress. These “teachers of the future” could give assessments through the computer during classes (Hall). The software in the hands of the teachers could gauge the progress of each student and allow deeper instruction or review in upcoming classes (Hall).
Another feature of the School of the Future was its paperless administrative environment. The school used online human resources tools for time reporting and for payroll management. This eliminated the need for paper forms, saving both time and money used on locating these forms and on paper management in general (Hall). Time management was, no doubt, at the heart of this educational trend toward a paperless campus. In addition, the model school was created with the realization that teachers and school administrators are resources that could be managed more efficiently.
The Internet allows expert teachers to perform their duties in more than one place at the same time. A teacher may be in a small town, although the Internet may allow him or her to link to students in populated cities as well. Society is able to educate more people thus. Moreover, the Internet enables teachers in addition to administrators to spend less time on recordkeeping as well as other administrative duties, thereby allowing them to spend more time with students (Lui, 1997). Certainly, this is a clear advantage of the Internet, seeing that it turns education into a more efficient enterprise.
As a matter of fact, the Internet may be said to have revolutionized education. Saving time and money at the same time, this learning tool also presents latest information while raising efficiency in education systems. The School of the Future offers many examples of the benefits of the Internet in education. Speeding up communication, the Internet allows students, teachers as well as school administrators to increase their focus on education itself. Parents may also enjoy the advantages of the Internet to motivate their children to study harder. Given all the advantages of the Internet mentioned thus far, it is hoped that the entire world, including the developing nations, would reap the benefits of this learning tool. ‘Education for All’ appears to be a realizable dream with the use of the Internet.
Hall, J. (2007, Jun 1). Design Trends. American School and University. Retrieved Nov 10, 2007,
Lenhart, A., Simon, M., & Graziano, M. (2001, Sep 1). The Internet and Education: Findings of
the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved Nov 10, 2007, from http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Schools_Report.pdf.
Lui, I. (1997, Fall). Benefits of Internet Education. College of Journalism and Communications,
University of Florida. Retrieved Nov 10, 2007, from http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/STUDENTS/Lui/index3.htm.