Internet and Education: Positive or Negative Aspect? The Internet started to boom in the 1990’s and has continued to evolve ever since. Today the concept of what was thought to be one of the greatest inventions has blown this old-time invention out of the water. In order for the Internet to be accessible a computer device is needed. Today on we can carry the Internet in our hands with wireless access; as before it was a fixed machine usually on a desk with multiple cords attached.
Noting that the invention of the computer and Internet has only increased in value and quality the rate of use has also increased significantly. This increase use of the Internet has affected and impacted people around the world. People use it at home, work and school for different reasons such as to communicate, shop, and look up information. The question that withholds is whether or not Internet use is beneficial or problematic. A topic that relates to this ongoing question is the effects that Internet use has on education and academic performance.
The Internet is used through a wide variety of spectrums within education; teachers and students use the Internet on a daily basis. Studies have shown positive and negative factors of the Internet appearing in education from both student and instructor views. When looking at the Internet as a positive aspect there are many studies and factors that play a role in helping conclude this acquisition about Internet in an educational setting. The Internet can be very beneficial for students along with teachers and administrators.
For example, the adult literacy and basic education (ALBE) classroom teachers have found the Internet to be beneficial for themselves as well their students (Berger, 2010). Jim I. Berger conducted a study using ALBE instructors to better understand their use of the Internet in the classrooms. These ALBE instructors explain they use the Internet to simply look up lesson plans and to communicate with the students on a daily basis (Berger, 2010). Berger (2010) sent a packet of 50 fifty-six-item surveys to every state director of ALBE services; in return he got 219 applications with an 18. % response rate (p. 155). When focusing more on the results and procedure Berger (2010) grouped the 56-item survey into 5 composite scales; (a) reasons for use (the Why scale), (b) ways the Internet was used (the Practice scale), (c) positive consequences (the PosCon scale), (d) negative consequences (the NegCon scale) and (e) reasons they would or could not use the Internet in their classroom (the Barrier Scale). Two specific parts of Berger’s study that helps conclude Internet is a positive aspect in education is the Why scale and the PosCon scale.
Berger (2010) asked the respondents to use the Likert-like scale with values not, some, or very to address his survey questions. When reporting the results for the Why scale Berger chose the teachers who answered with very. Majority of the teachers (71. 8%) said they felt it was very important to use the Internet in class because students would one day need it in their professional lives, around half (54. 1%) thought the Internet helped students learn basic skills, a little less than half (40. 9%) stated they used it because they enjoyed to, while (31. 3%) of teachers felt the Internet makes them better teachers (Berger, 2010, p. 56). For the PosCon scale Berger (2010) reported the results based on ALBE instructors who agree or strongly agree. His findings concluded that 83. 5% reported that students were more empowered, 82. 4% thought the material was more engaging for the students, 82. 2% felt that students improved their basic skills, and 76. 2% thought they could incorporate higher-level thinking skills in their lessons. Also, a great proportion (70. 2%) stated that classes became more student centered and half (50. 4%) thought the students worked together more often (Berger, 2010, p. 157).
To conclude Berger’s study it was found that the Internet was beneficial in education when looking at ALBE classrooms in more ways than one. However, a weakness of Berger’s study is the response rate. This is only a small fraction of instructors and teachers around the world. Similar to Berger’s positive findings is a study conducted by Gwo-Jen Hwang, Po-Han Wu and Chi-Chang Chen. Their study addresses the topic of web-based problem-solving activities. According to the Hwang et al. (2012) study online web-based problem-solving games are found to be beneficial in education.
In their study an online game was developed for conducting web-based learning activates (Hwang et al. , 2012). Two classes of fifth and sixth graders participated in the study. One group was the experimental group while the other was the control group. The experimental group was guided by an educational computer game that used a Graphical Quiz approach to develop the game-board learning system, while the control group was guided by learning sheets and keyword search online (Hwang et al. 2012). Hwang et al. (2012) required both groups to take a pre-test and post-test regarding “butterfly ecology. In result Hwang et al. (2012) reported the online-education game not only improved the students’ learning achievement and attitudes, but also situated the students’ in a learning state filled with involvement, concentration and enjoyment. The results also show how the approach was effective; the learning activity conducted in this study showed that students were highly motivated in their web-based problem-solving tasks (Hwang et al. , 2012). Hwang et al. (2012) thus concludes that the students were highly engaged in the task due to the intrinsic motivations promoted through the game.
Between these two studies it seems safe to say that the Internet is used in multiple ways in education and in general has a positive outcome. While studies like these show positive factors of Internet use in education there are also findings that conclude negative effects of Internet usage. Along with the increased use of the Internet comes increased amount of distractions. Distractions such as social networks, shopping sites, sport networks and YouTube are constantly being streamed from networks around the world. Researchers Jomon Aliyas Paul, Hope M.
Baker, Justin Daniel Cochran (2012) believe there is a negative correlation between grades and time spent on laptops, tablets and cell phones during class. They also say it’s very common to see students using their phones during class; this behavior is not only distracting to the one using the mobile device but for others around them as well (Baker et al. , 2012). Noting this is an example of how the Internet in education is misused and often abused in educational settings. Relating back to Berger’s study, he concluded there are also some negative aspects of the Internet in education.
Berger (2010), states 54. 4% of the instructors claim that students visited sites unrelated to assignments or class work, 36. 7% of instructors found that their classes split into those that did and those that did not know how to use the Internet, 23. 9% found that students visited inappropriate sites (porn, gambling), 22. 5% of instructors indicated that students copied material from the Internet and used it as their own, and 20. 9% felt that their students relied too heavily on the Internet for information (p. 157).
His study shows that students are easily distracted by the endless uses of the Internet. As a college student I struggle with these distractions on a regular basis. Looking at a different spectrum of Internet and education researchers Nejla Canbulat, Sevil Inal, and Meral Kelleci conducted a study looking at the relationship between the Internet and academic performance for a small portion of high school students. To further explain the Canbulat et al. (2012) study, 804 high school students between the ages of 15 and 18 were chosen randomly from four high schools in Istanbul city.
One of the three questions their study asked was “Do computer and Internet using periods of high school students adversely affect their success at school? ” They collected their data through a survey. They founded that the students average computer use periods were 2. 07±1. 5 hours daily and their average Internet access periods were 1. 8±1. 5 hours daily (Canbulat et al. , 2012, p. 1648). Depending on if the student had Internet access at home or had to access the Internet through a public place, such as a cafe, altered the results of time spent on the computer.
In Nejla Canbulat, Sevil Inal, and Meral Kelleci’s (2012) study they restate Berson and Berson’s findings of 92% of 10800 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 had access to the Internet and spent most of their time messaging with people, surfing across websites, playing games and only 1% of them use the Internet for making searches and studying (p. 1644). Canbulat et al. (2012) founded that compared to this statement their study proposed that half of the teenager (50. 5%) connected to Internet for searching purposes; however, other reasons were chatting (18. 1%), playing games (12. %), listening to music (9. 7%), sharing content in forum sites (6. 6%) and accessing websites with sexual content (2. 4%) (p. 1649). Even though these percentages seem to correlate with a positive use of the Internet too much time spent searching and using the Internet causes problems in interpersonal relations (Canbulat et al. , 2012). To conclude their findings they state that the more time spent on the Internet adversely affected the student’s success at school. The study also founded that the increased spent time on the Internet decreased the academic success of students.
The students that accessed the Internet at home used it less often than the ones who accessed the Internet through a cafe, reckoning that the Internet at home is kept under parental control (Canbulat et al. , 2012). This however may not be the case for every student who has a computer at home; this is only a small study that was done with high school students. When comparing Canbulat et al. and Berger’s studies it’s hard to differentiate whether the Internet is a positive or negative aspect within education due to the different views between teachers and tudents. Most teachers argue it’s a good thing for teaching and it also helps students interact with each other. However, some teachers believe that the increased use of Internet distracts students from their daily work by visiting non-related sites. These findings from Berger’s study relate to the Canbulat et al. correlation found between the increased use of the Internet and decreasing academic performances. Students are spending more and more time on these non-related sites affecting their studying habits and overall grades.
There have been many studies conducted about the Internet and the psychological effects it has created; some good while some bad. Certain researchers claim that Internet chatting decreases loneliness and depression, increases the feelings of happiness, and greatly enhances perceptions of social support and self-esteem (PW Kang 2007; Shaw and Gant 2002; Chen 2012). While others believe the increasing use of Internet is effecting face-to-face interactions by reducing time spent with family members and friends, thus creating more and more feelings of loneliness and depression (Kraut et al. 1998; Chen 2012).
If the Internet does create these feelings of hopelessness and depression this could affect students not only socially but academically too. In the classroom these feelings of depression can often lead to alienation and feel worthy only when using the Internet. This could reduce the social interaction a student may have in school thus creating low self-esteem. A student may then cover these feelings up by using the Internet, which in turn would reduce the motivation of a student to do homework or study for upcoming exams. Overall the Internet is a positive aspect in the world of education.
On the contrary it’s known for it’s devious distractions. Studies and research prove both cases are true among students and teachers. People today rely solely on the Internet as before it was just something to have. Is the Internet and technology the destruction of social interaction and resulting in increased isolation? Some critics argue thus is true while others oppose this idea as a whole. This is yet another issue that’s addressed with the concern of the Internet. Time can only tell. List of Reference Baker H. M. , Cochran, J. D. , & Paul, J. A. (2012).
Effect of online social networking on student academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(6), 2117-2127. Berger, J. I. (2010). Profiles of Internet use among ALBE instructors. Adult Basic Education & Literacy Journal, 4(3) 151-160. Canbulat, N. , Inal, S. , & Kelleci, M. (2012). Internet use and its relation with the academic performance for a sample of high school students. HealthMed, 6(5), 1643-1650. Chen, C. , Hwang, G. , & Wu, P. (2012). An online game approach for improving students’ learning performance in web-based problem-solving activities.
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