Education And The Internet

The internet. Everyone these days uses the internet for almost everything. The music I’m listening to as I write this paper is coming from the internet, the research I use to write this paper – if I use any – is also being taken from the internet, and I’ll need the internet to turn in said paper. Everyone uses the internet for everything. The internet is becoming more frequent in schools as well. Is the internet truly necessary in the education system though? In my opinion, it is to a certain degree, but only to a certain degree.

At the moment, students not only use the internet for their social media, but are now being given the option, or sometimes lack of, in using the internet for education purposes. While most, if not all students use the internet to do research, there are other reasons it is now being used in the education system. Teachers now are using the internet more and more. One example is here at Adrian College.

Everything, quite literally everything, is on the internet. We get sent at least 10 emails a day giving us updates about on-campus activities and information. Teachers communicate through email or Facebook. Students have to apply for classes each semester online, rushing to get their first pick of the classes they want, making it difficult for the other 2,000 some odd students on campus or at home trying to choose their own classes.

And then there’s good old Blackboard. We have to submit all of our papers, and all of our homework through one website. This becomes a problem when you have a good 200 students trying to turn in homework all at the same time Sunday night. And one might say, turn it in early, but let’s face it. We’re college students.

Another issue with using the internet in education more and more is the fact that, some people just can’t get to these online sources. There could be thousands of reasons as to why. For example, here at Adrian, sometimes I have a problem getting on the internet due to so many people being connected to it. This causes problems for myself and my professors, as well as other students.

Some students and their families may not be able to afford the internet, as in electricity, for a month. This would mean that for a full month, a student would not have access to their book(s) or homework. Some families may not be able to afford a laptop for their child either. I knew that when I got to college I would need a laptop. So, I had to go and get a job at the age of 16 so I could (eventually) purchase a laptop for myself, all the while struggling to keep my sisters afloat because my parents are divorced and both are financially unstable. I was lucky because I was able to get my job, but others aren’t as lucky.

Another example of ways teachers and schools are now using the internet is by putting all of a student’s work onto the internet. Last year, as my sister went through her eighth grade year, she had to take a history class and they didn’t have any physical copies of their book. They had to use the book on the internet. For some people this may be a good thing; you don’t have to carry around a heavy, physical copy of a book to and from class every day. But, let’s say you’re struggling with a class –for example Math- and your only source of help is your online textbook.

This book can only give a few examples and can’t really teach you what your teacher is supposed to teach you. Because of this, you struggle to even comprehend the homework assignment, also given to you online. Once you’ve completed it with a semi-satisfying grade, you go to submit it and your connection to the internet stops working. This is just one story out of thousands that have happened to me in turning in my math homework this semester alone.

Of course there are ways to solve a lot, if not most, of these issues. If anyone is having any type of connectivity problem, they could always go to their local library or somewhere that has better internet access. They could also get a router if needed (except on campus, despite the amount of students who have them illegally in their dorms). And the problem about not having a computer/laptop or not having electricity? You could also go to the library for that one as well.

At the library, you’re given free access to their computers for a certain amount of time, and I’m sure they’ll give you more than the allotted time if asked. But what about those students who just have trouble learning things via online texts? What if they learn better in a secure, classroom environment with the physical text in their hands for them to mark in and read? I guess, if they wanted, they could print off the online text book.

In my Math class here at Adrian we were given a binder of over 300 pages of notes from the online text book which we had to fill out each class. Other than that, students such as myself and my younger sister who struggle learning from online books, have no choice but to adapt.

While the internet is important to our society now, it isn’t truly necessary in the education system. Yes, it may be necessary to do most research nowadays, even though libraries still exist with books, but it shouldn’t be used for what it is now. Schools should still use physical copies of books and teachers should teach what’s in those texts.

While using email as communication to students and parents is a good method, teachers shouldn’t forget that they can also talk to these students and parents in person, which will get their message across much better than a brief email. While using the internet in schooling seems beneficial in a timely manner, it isn’t all that beneficial to students in the long run.

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