The Effects of Technology & the Internet on Studentsby Ashley Poland
As the boom of the Internet and technology changes us as a society, it also makes learning more efficient and less costly for students. By using the wide range of technology available in most classrooms, students have access to more information and tools than ever before.
An e-book has limitless copies and cannot be damaged or lost -- unlike print textbooks, which can become outdated and include misinformation. While e-reader implementation in the classroom can be costly, it reduces how many books a student needs to carry. E-books cost less than print books, reducing the overall cost of education. E-readers also ensure that students all have the same copy of a textbook, and that the textbook remains up-to-date when new editions are released.
Before the Internet, students had access to professionals in all fields -- from visiting authors to political officials giving talks at local campuses, there's no shortage of people for students to meet. However, videoconferencing removes the variables of travel and reduces issues with scheduling, and it increases student participation by reducing the size of the audience. With videoconferencing students can meet professionals, arrange lessons with other teachers and even meet their peers in other countries.
With computers students can be involved in more detailed and in-depth simulations than in years past. As Sarah Kessler of Mashable says, "Digital simulations and models can help teachers explain concepts that are too big or too small ... to demonstrate in a physical classroom." These simulations can be used for sciences to better explain anatomy, physics and engineering concepts in ways that students can observe and interact with.
Not all schools have access to the same curricular tools -- especially in small towns -- but nearly every school has an Internet connection. With the Internet, students can take more varied and advanced courses with teachers in different areas without ever leaving the classroom. Distance learning programs can involve complex programs for submitting and managing assignments, or they can be as informal as using email, webcams and chatrooms for communication.
The Internet puts the sum of human knowledge just a click away -- it's added a lot of tools for students to research information and learn more about the topics that interest them. While students still have to be taught how to recognize biased and unreliable sources, they also have access to scholarly databases and news articles, and they're able to search many libraries with an online search function. Teachers in the report "How Teens Do Research in the Digital World," by the Pew Research Center, suggest that students can be taught to research better by being directed to specific sources (instead of just Google), as well as requiring students to include both online and offline sources.
- The Journal: Digital Technologies Have Mixed Effect on Students' Research Habits
- Chen-Hsuan Kuan: Distance Education with the Internet
- Mashable: 8 Ways Technology Is Improving Education
- Plano ISD Instuctional Center: Ideas for Using Video Conferencing in the Classroom
- USA Today College: E-textbooks a Cheaper Option, but Students Remain Skeptical