Positive & Negative Impact of the Internet on Education

By Amanda Holden

The world of education has changed dramatically due to widespread easy access to the Internet. Providing a vast amount of information on every subject imaginable, the Internet today provides students of all ages with a valuable data resource that can help or even sometimes hinder a project or assignment.

Access to Information

Thanks to the wide availability of the Internet, access to information has become easier than ever before. With libraries, encyclopedias, archives and news agencies all making information available for free online, students can find information without having to dig through old documents at a library or at a remote location somewhere far away.

Distance Education

Thanks to the Internet, individuals can now obtain degrees online, all without ever having to set foot in a classroom setting. Perfect for people who may have difficultly attending traditional classes, such as third shift workers, students can find online classes offered by many well-respected colleges and universities at similar or equal prices to the traditional classroom setting. These classes usually must meet rigorous standards, just like regular classrooms, to ensure that students receive comparable learning experiences in both settings.

Cheating

Unfortunately, the Internet has also opened up several new methods of cheating. Students can pay anonymous websites to write a term paper and can search through databases of free papers to download and turn in. Cheating has become a problem in many distance education courses as well, where students can search the Internet for answers for "Online Assessments" without having to learn the material.

Thinking Patterns

The Internet and search engines in particular have changed the way many people remember things. The human brain, according to researchers at Columbia University, relies more and more on the Internet for memory. This results in our mind remembering less data and instead remembering where it can find that information. This means that the Internet causes us to memorize less total information and to forget what we know we can find online, which can become a negative thing in an educational environment.