The computer and the internet were the most significant inventions of the 21st century and these two inventions have changed the way human beings operate. Many aspects of modern life have been influenced by this two inventions and the education sector is one of the fields that have been significantly influenced by computers and the internet. The internet has had major impacts on education; some of them negative and others positive. This paper argues that education would not be better off without the internet. The paper will begin by articulating the positive impacts that the internet has had on education.
It will then analyze some of the negative impacts so as to provide a balanced view on the topic and conclude by showing how the positive impacts outweigh the negative.
Positive Impacts of the Internet
Academic research is one of the important pillars of education. Tsai asserts that the internet has increased the ability of students to engage in research (222). Before the internet was available, researching students had to engage in time consuming activities while carrying out their research work.
They had to physically visit libraries and finding the necessary information was not easy. With the internet, students are able to tap into a virtually unlimited pool of resources. Students are therefore able to produce good research work as a result of the internet. The internet has enhanced the engagement in collaborative work by students and teachers. Without the internet, collaborative work was limited to being among or between parties who lived close to each other (Tsai 234). For people who lived significant distances from each other, collaboration could be a slow and tedious affair since post mail had to be used or one had to travel in order to meet with their collaborating partner. The internet has made it possible for collaboration to occur instantaneously regardless of distance. Students and teachers can therefore consult with their peers and engage in productive discussions.
By exchanging ideas, innovation and school performance can be achieved. Another significant benefit of the internet is that is has made it possible for online learning to take place. Traditionally, the only way for students to acquire education was by physically going to the school facilities. A lot of prospective students were locked out since they lacked the time to attend these institutes or they lived away from the education facilities (Tsai 233). The internet has made it possible for online-learning to take place and students can now engage in education at their convenience and from different geographical locations using virtual classrooms. This has not only benefited students but also educational institutes which can now serve more students since they are no longer restricted by a lack of physical resources to cater for the students. The internet has therefore made education available to more people and therefore helped the society move closer to its goal of providing educational opportunities to all.
Negative Impacts of the Internet
One of the major demerits that the internet has caused is that it has led to an increase in the rate of academic dishonesty.
The major academic dishonesty that has increased due to the internet is the prevalence of plagiarism instances. Most students assume that information that is available online is free for use and therefore submit it as their own in research papers. Other students find copies of work in the internet submitted by other students and attempt to pass it off as their own. While it is true that the high availability of digital media has increased the temptation of students to cheat, there are ways in which this can be mitigated. Park notes that digital detection of plagiarism has led to a decrease in the plagiarism instances since students are unlikely to engage in plagiarism if the likelihood of being caught is high (481). The internet has made online learning possible and incidents of cheating in this setting are high. Grijlava and Joe reveal that cheating is more abundant in web-based classes than in the traditional classroom setting (2).
This is because in web-based settings, there is no physical supervision by the tutor and the temptation to cheat is therefore very high. Students therefore end up attaining grades that they do not deserve as a result of the internet and this damages the credibility of the education system. However, Grijlava and Joe contend that most of the instances of academic dishonesty that occur through the internet are due to the ignorance on the part of the students. The assumption that all information available is free and can be used in any manner leads many students to unwittingly engage in dishonest behavior.
This paper has argued that the internet has enhanced education by providing significant advantages to the various parties engaged in the educational sector. The internet presents a number of impressive ways for enhancing the educational experience of the students. The paper has highlighted how the internet has increased the research ability of students, enhanced collaboration and made online learning possible. Even so, the paper has noted that the internet has some negative impacts on education, mostly because it makes cheating easy. However, measures can be undertaken to deal with this issue.
Considering the positive impact of the internet on education, its use should be encouraged so that the education sector can benefit even more from this invention.
Grijlava, Therese and Joe Kerkvliet. “Academic honesty and online courses”. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 47.2 (2003): 1-16.
Park, Chris. “In Other (People’s) Words: plagiarism by university students—literature and lessons”. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28.
5 (2003): 471-488. Tsai, Chin. “Self-efficacy in Internet-based Learning Environments: A Literature Review”. Educational Technology & Society, 14.4 (2011): 222–240.