Michael C. Warren

Technology and Education

A Survey Regarding Computers and the Internet on Education

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A Survey Regarding Computers and the Internet on Education

Michael C. Warren

Lamar University


In writing this paper I decided to expand from one teacher to several teachers. I wanted to compare viewpoints from several people to gather a better understanding of how the Internet has provided change to education.  In addition to interviewing multiple people I also decided to interview some office staff as well as teachers. These teachers and staff cover a broad range of schools including private schools and public schools.

A Survey Regarding Computers and the Internet on Education

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 created the E-Rate program allowing discounts of 20%-to-90% to purchase Internet access for the school or libraries” (Lenhart, Simon, and Graziano, 2001, p 3).  The use of computers in school many responses were similar to this from Mrs. Christine Napoles who taught at a private school and said that students began using computers in the classroom during the 1990s however the teachers did not feel it was a good tool. “We wanted them to look it up in the reference books.  Students continued to have to manually write their papers by hand and submit them to the teacher” (personal communication, January 15, 2010).   Even when the Internet was introduced to schools and classrooms it often took a year or so before it became accepted as a useful tool. It was not uncommon for some of the teachers to feel that their might be a loss of jobs because technology could take the place of teachers, and that students would be shortchanged and get less of an education.  However a 2002 Pew survey states “Much like a school-issued textbook or a traditional library, students think of the Internet as the place to find primary and secondary source material for their reports, presentations, and projects” (Levin and Arafeh, p. 6).

Training varied by schools and districts. While Mrs. Napoles who worked at a private school received regular computer and Internet training, other teachers received training and still did not have the hardware at their school.  Those who lacked the hardware and software at their school often found it difficult to remember the concepts that were taught to them.

While initially computer and Internet usage was slow in becoming recognized as a useful tool. Hosein Arsham indicates from an early studies in 1997 and 1998 that “it is clear at least at this time that such Web-based innovations cannot serve as an adequate substitution for face-to-face live instruction” (Arsham, 2002).  However teacher have a different opinion on how the Internet has an affect on a student’s education.  “It has definitely elevated the ability for students to learn and teachers to teach.  It further advances the curriculum and a lot of the curriculum is tied in to various sites for each dept” (Napoles, January 15th, 2010).  It has helped teachers produce better lesson plans that incorporate curriculum from other departments as well.  These lessons may tie together history with reading so students understand about the author from a literature and historical perspective.  Administration and support staff have been able to improve their efficiency and be more accurate in their work.

One of the biggest problem with Internet usage early on was the need to monitor students on a regular basis to make sure they were not going to sites they were not suppose to.  “37% of teens believe that “too many” of their peers are using the internet to cheat” (Hitlin & Raine, 2005).  Another concern is that there is still risk in using the Internet, weather it be from students accessing the wrong types of web sites, or unauthorized access of information about students.

The Internet has also increased communication with  both the parents and fellow teachers as well. Parents have the oppertunity to be contacted by e-mail, go online and check their child’s grades, attendance, and assignments.  Mary McMillan, a retired registrar with Plano ISD states “Teachers, parents, students can all come together through the Internet to be able to teach as well as learn” (personal communication, January 15, 2010)  A teacher can share lesson plans much easier with other teachers allowing departments to stay on track, multiple departments can develop lessons that are aligned to work together.

Teacher and staff feel that the Internet will change the way we teach. Mrs. Napoles felt that “classes will be Internet driven and may have only a teacher to monitor the behavior of the students and assist if any difficulties” (personal communication, January 15, 2010).  There is also the belief that textbooks will be online, and education will become more global, allowing students from all countries to work together.

Reference List

Arsham, H. (2002). Impact of the Internet on Learning and Teaching. USDLA Journal, Vol. 16: No 3, 1537-5080

Hitlin, P. & Raine, L. (2005). Teens, Technology, and School

Lenhart, A., Simon, M., & Graziano, M. (2001). The Internet and Education: Findings of the Pew Internet & American Life Project

Levin, D. & Arefeh, S. (2002). The Digital Disconnect: The Widening Gap Between Internet-Savvy Students and their Schools.

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November 6th, 2009 at 10:58 am

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