The Internet has been one of the modern day wonders of the world in the way it has changed how people perceive and access information. An email can reach the remotest corners of the world in seconds and a video uploaded can spawn a download frenzy that has been likened to a viral attack. In the age of the Internet, lets take a look at the way it is revolutionizing education and enhancing its modes of delivery.
Internet access in schools
Graduating from a measly 35% in 1994 to a mindboggling near 100% in 2005, public schools have made progress in acquiring Internet access in labs and instructional rooms. Starting with dialup connections and then moving on to broadband and state-of-the-art wireless, public schools are now equipped roughly at a student-computer ratio of 3.8:1[Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2006)].
This is helping students become familiar with newer methods of accessing information. You can find further information in the following article Campus Based vs. Online Education to compare distance learning versus attending a university campus.
Using the internet in classrooms
The Internet and its easy access to an almost unlimited amount of up-to-date, accurate information has transformed classrooms into information-rich environments. Text, audio, video and images from the Web are being used as additional resources to learning and they are stored on a hard drive or CD to be retrieved later. This information is used for projects, to illustrate lessons, and to demonstrate cause and effect very dramatically. Hyperlinking and easily navigable paths to information are used to jumpstart and augment learning rates. Tools like bulletin boards, IM or chat programs are being used to spark discussions online. Planned lessons are published along with curriculum, outlines, assignments and notes. Research on topics is conducted at home.
Newer education techniques
Many schools have sponsored email addresses used for communication with the students and their parents. Since the faculty is also provided with the addresses, student-teacher communication also receives a boost. School websites are used to provide information about the school and its resources. Blogging is another way that students can publish information about school activities. Students are given a chance to participate in the creation of e-newsletters and websites this is a great way to foster creativity and teach technology at the same time. The following article can help you ask the question, Is an Online Degree Right for You?
Powerpoint presentations and projectors combine to make a lesson more powerfully compelling while being visually more attractive than a chalkboard. Some other means that schools utilize the Internet are: podcasts to deliver updates, social networks for educational purposes, conducting online quizzes, amassing data for online databases both for student information as well as data repositories for classes, utilizing note-taking software, conducting virtual classes that are important for self-learning or distance education (currently being used by 32% of public schools), publishing papers or research information, presentation of projects, collaborative work on projects, usage of open-source tools for analyses and creating blogs for topics.
Some software helps supervise student performance results using online assessment tools, enabling both teacher and student to manage learning objectives and increase effectiveness.
During the fall term of 2006, an estimated 3.5 million students who were pursuing higher education were registered for an online course that utilized tools such as Web 2.0 to quickly integrate videos, text and images to create collaborative content. This helps improve academic scores and exposure to a technology equipped learning environment.
Eighty nine percent of public schools stated that they used the Internet for instructional planning while eighty seven percent said that they used it to publish results of tests. Eighty seven percent are using the Internet to facilitate access to online digital libraries and museums while fifty one percent of the schools have said that they use the Web to provide teachers with professional development.
In primary schools, the Internet helps foster reading and creativity, and motivates learning in the young. It helps enhance primary skills like counting, recognizing numbers or letters of the alphabet, while interactive games like matching sets of data and learning new words help engage student interest. Using the webcam to visit a place of interest, or drawing tools to outline objects and color them, and story-telling via digital means or animation are some uses of the Internet.
Types of media
Text, audio, video and images from the Web are being used as additional resources to learning. Tools like bulletin boards, IM or chat programs, Powerpoint presentations and projectors, and podcasts are some applications being used. [Source: Source: Education-world.com]