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The Benefits Of The Internet In Education

2188 words - 9 pages

Innovation has always been a defining feature of Humans, ever since an early ancestor of ours discovered how to use shape a rock into a hybrid hammer/axe tool. Eventually, we were able to harness and control fire. Then, some bright person discovered how to use scratches in clay tablets to record their business transactions: the early beginning of written language. The the development of writing added a new dimension to their rich oral tradition, allowing people to read the teachings and stories of people they had never met. Readers could read their tablet, scroll, or codex at their leisure, in the comfort of a location of their choosing. They had access to the musings of thinkers the world over, and so books inevitably began to be used by scholars to edify their pupils. In the five-thousand years (give or take) since the advent of writing, the book’s inclusion into the classroom has become universal. Now we have created another innovation to contend with—the Internet.
Around thirty years ago, the Internet began to take form. It easily has the capacity to store the entirety of human books and journals, plus the innumerable videos of people hurting themselves on camera. There hasn’t really been enough time to fully research the consequences of Internet use on our brains or our social interactions, but it has already intricately laced itself into nearly every part of our lives: commerce, entertainment, correspondence, sex, shopping, interpersonal interactions, research, work—and education. It has radically altered the way we interact with information, much in the same way that the written word did in the ancient world. It has been remarked that the average tween now has in her pocket (via a smart phone or hand-held computer) more information at her hands than President Clinton had available at any time while he was in the Oval Office. Five thousand years of human writing is now on hand at any time on our phones and PDA’s and home computers. While the internet has as many uses as can be imagined by its users’ collective ingenuity, its utility as a teaching tool is still evolving; and new tools are becoming available. And, as with every new tool, the challenges of using the Web in the classroom still need to be overcome. We need to keep developing new ways to use the Internet in (or as) the classroom so everyone in the world has access to an excellent education.
Of course, there will be some growing pains. People have always objected to new ideas, sometimes just because they couldn’t predict the consequences, good or bad. When Plato wrote his dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus, he imagined Socrates abhorring the use of writing because its staticity; the written word could not argue back. Whatever you asked of it, its response was always the same. He also feared that, “[writing] will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of...

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