The Internet is a powerful tool, and is used in abundance by thousands of students across the globe. Students use this technology to learn both independently and in lessons, making the process of teaching easier for teachers due to a previously unavailable access to an unlimited amount of resources. There are many different opinions people have about the use of technology in the education sector, especially regarding the use of the internet by young children/teenagers.
One such perspective is that “Allowing students to use computers and the internet in classrooms substantially harms their results””(The Guardian ) Similar beliefs are held by many others, believing that the use of the internet in the classroom is causing handwriting skills to decline, and can also cause physical harm to students, as shown by a study showing that “children are experiencing discomfort from the use of computers” (NCBI )!However, many people hold the inverse opinion, believing “The development of Internet technologies has raised the education level in all countries and it has changed the way students are being taught at schools” (KLIENT SOLUTECH ).The use of the internet in classrooms has grown substantially in recent years. In 2013, “one-third of teachers said they used a tablet or e-reader in their classroom”, which is an increase from 20% the previous year (EdTech Magazine ). Google defines e-learning as “learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet” and this type of learning is used across the world, with 77% of American teachers using the internet for instruction and to aid their own teaching (Statistic Brain ) Firstly, let’s consider one of the most prevalent arguments against the use of the internet in the classroom: When considering formal examinations, “Allowing students to use computers and the internet in classrooms substantially harms their results” (The Guardian ) It is a belief held by some researchers that the use of technology in the classroom can distract students, as the presence of digital devices can be off-putting. This viewpoint was considered by The Guardian newspaper, and the article in question discusses research stating that internet use has a detrimental effect on exam results.
This article was written by a reputable newspaper, and the research included in the article was carried out by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), meaning that there is a high chance of the information included in the article being correct and properly researched. However, while the research is discussed in the article, no numeric values/statistics are ever actually stated, meaning that we are only told that the use of the internet has a negative effect, but never by what percentage compared to the group which didn’t have access to technology. This means that the difference in exam results could only be extremely small, but we have no way of knowing or seeing it in perspective as no tangible information is ever provided to us. Moreover, the article doesn’t consider the other side of the argument, and is heavily narrow minded and set towards the belief that the use of the internet harms the results of students.
The only time it is considered there is not a negative effect is when they discuss how banning the use of mobile phones “improves outcomes for the low-achieving students and has no significant impact on high-achievers”. This, however, counteracts the rest of the article, which has been dead-set on the idea that technology as a whole affects the exam results of all pupils, whereas here they are stating that the only noticeable effect is on lower performing students.This view is also considered by The Telegraph newspaper, who reported on research indicating that “students perform worse when personal computing technology is available” (The Telegraph ) The Telegraph is again a reputable source, which would lead the reader to believe the content of the article.
However, they only consider one side of the argument, not once mentioning the possibility of any positive impacts of technology/the internet on students, showing bias in the extreme. As well as this, they make inferences from the results that have absolutely no factual basis, saying that the difference in academic grades in non-military universities could be more substantial as they do not have the same temperament. These claims are completely unfounded, and they have no evidence whatsoever to back them up.
The article, however, does cite a large number of sources and looks at multiple different studies, and unlike “The Guardian” they use statistics while presenting their argument, showing they are being thorough in their research and do not want to mislead the reader. However, as mentioned before, their research is not as thorough as it could be as they have not looked at any conflicting sources.A further article written by the North America based newspaper U.S.
News made claims very similar to those made by UK newspapers The Telegraph and The Guardian, saying “students who used computers more at school had both lower reading and lower math scores” (U.S. News & World Report ). This statement is based off research carried out by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development across 31 nations and regions, where they studied the use of computers/the internet by 15-year-old students in the classroom. While the article itself was published in 2015, which is still relatively recent, the research in question was actually conducted in 2012, meaning that it is most likely unrepresentative of the modern society, as students will probably use the internet much more now than 6 years ago due to the many breakthroughs in technology that have occurred in recent years. This article, unlike the one from The Guardian and The Telegraph, does consider the other side of the argument, stating that “Home computer use, by contrast, wasn’t as harmful to academic achievement”. However, they only consider that the use of computers at home isn’t harmful, staying extremely narrow minded towards the possibility of any adverse opinion. The only time they do consider this is right at the end of the article, where they have used an asterisk to call back to a previous section of the article, stating that “In reading, students who used the computer a little bit did score better than those who never used a computer.
” While they may be showing a slightly more open look at the subject, they are also completely contradicting their initial claim that “students who used computers more at school had both lower reading and lower math scores”. This shows an element of indecisiveness that should not be present in a professionally written article for a newspaper, showing they may not be trustworthy. The potential degradation of core skills isn’t the only potential disadvantage of the use of computers/the internet, there is also the possibility of students being physically harmed. The website “Better Health” says “Inappropriate computer use can cause muscle and joint pain, overuse injuries of the shoulder, arm, wrist or hand, and eyestrain” (Better Health ). The website is dedicated to informing the public about different health risks they may face, not a newspaper or any type of media outlet, which shows it is unlikely to have an agenda behind its message. Also, it is a site run by the Australian government, showing it is very likely to be trustworthy. However, as with all governments, they can be susceptible to corruption and bias, with politicians allegedly furthering their own friends’ goals rather than the general public, implying this website could potentially be deliberately misleading.However, there are many people who believe that the use of the internet in the classroom is beneficial for students, with most teachers saying that “technology has helped do more than ever before for their students” (EdTech Magazine ) This statement was published by EdTech Magazine in an article discussing the opinions of teachers about the use of the internet/technology in general as a learning resource in their classrooms.
This was done using a survey given to teachers across America by PBSLearningMedia, an offshoot of a television distributor dedicated to education. The results of said survey were overwhelmingly positive, with just under 75% of educators believing that “technology is key to helping them expand on classroom content… technology is a motivational tool” This shows an encouraging reception from teachers towards internet use. The article was published by a magazine dedicated towards the use of technology in education. This means there is a definite potential for bias, as they would definitely be for the use of the internet as this matches their interests and hobbies. Also, the article is from 2013, which means it could be outdated when compared to the opinions of educators now, as technology is much more prevalent in everyday life than it was 5 years ago. This means it is likely their beliefs have changed/adapted when put into perspective with the current technology available to both the students and the teachers.
The article includes accurate statistics which have been gathered by a reputable, well known source. However, at no point were the opinions of people who did not agree with the use of the internet in the classroom considered, again highlighting the bias which is hugely prevalent throughout the article. This lack of an opposing opinion paints the source in a negative light, as it infers there is a reason they are deliberately ignoring the huge counterargument, potentially implying they have a hidden agenda.The website Statistic Brain also conducted research into the effects of internet use in classrooms on students, finding that the majority of high school seniors believed that tablets helped students with their studies, and also unveiled a 20% increase in maths scores in students that used iPads to study.
(Statistic Brain ) The website includes a varied amount of data and also includes the time the data was collected/submitted, showing it is up-to-date. The company behind the website is also used by Forbes, CNN, and The New York Times, inferring it can be trusted and the information will be accurate. However, while it displays detailed information, it doesn’t say who specifically collected the data, only that it was done by the website, and it also doesn’t say where the data was collected or the sample sizes, meaning we have nothing to base the results on and cannot consider it relative to actual numbers and figures we can understand. We have no perspective on how accurate the data is or how representative of students in general it can be.
For example, if the sample was only made up of 10 students, the data would be less conclusive compared to the same study carried out with a sample of 100 students. The lack of information makes it hard to comprehend the data, and makes it near impossible to know how reliable it is.