While there have been concerns about the negative influence of Internet dependency on teenagers and students in this fast moving technology landscape, a study conducted by Oxford University’s Department of Education shows that today’s students would have a huge disadvantage if they were not able to access the Internet.
The study targeted 1000 random households in the UK and face to face interviews with 200 students and families between 2008 and 2011. The study shows that parents are very concerned about their kids spending all their time juggling between mobile devices and computers. The Internet however is much more useful for students and the perceived negatives are small compared to the positive potential of the web in terms of education and knowledge.
The web is huge storehouse of information and the lack of Internet can jeopardise students in their quest to learn more about the world around them. Those kids who did not have Internet felt that they were shut out from their peer groups who did have Internet access. Kids with Internet access have the world’s information at their fingers. This is a raw deal for students who don’t use the Internet due to parental pressure or lack of connectivity.
The study says that there is no evidence yet of technology messing with the lives and mental capability of students, as many like to claim. The Internet if used wisely can open up bigger vistas for seekers of knowledge. The explosion of education related services and online learning websites have made us realize that the Internet is the next great frontier for education. Although it will never substitute a physical lecture given in front of a classroom full of students, it will nonetheless be a very complementary unit of education in the coming future.
Here’s a TED Talk by Sugata Mitra which shows that kids can learn by themselves using just the Internet.
What are your thoughts about the Internet’s role in the life of a student?
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