The Importance Of Internet Access In Schools

Four happy high school students with laptopsThe Internet is a vital part of the education process; resources for learning and educating are implemented into lesson plans and homework everyday. Students and teachers can access unlimited amounts of information to broaden their education.With Internet access in schools, there is almost no limit to what students can learn. Traditional teaching methods might not be the norm anymore.

How Education Relies On Internet Technology to Advance

  1. The Internet gives both students and educators access to vast educational resources. Many lesson plans, tutorials and courses are available online. MIT offers open courseware for free. Yale, Berkeley, Stanford, and Harvard also offer free courses in everything from languages, to literature and engineering. These courses are not for credit but they are available to anyone who can connect to the Internet. There are many sources of information and if one source is unclear or confusing, you can usually find an alternate source that is more understandable.
  2. Online instruction in areas such as math and languages makes use of highly effective software, which has infinite patience and is not judgmental. Some software for educational programs is adept at determining why students make mistakes and is capable of educating them through practice and examples; one-on-one ACT tutors utilize different resources including online tutorials to further the education process.
  3. Online education provides resources for students who don’t normally have the opportunity to access an educational institution. Students who have limited income and must work full time or those who have health constraints can attend high school or post-secondary school online. Many excellent high schools and universities have Internet-based programs.
  4. The Internet provides students of any age with the ability to collaborate with others and answer questions they cannot answer on their own. Amazing projects in science, software development and organizations like Wikipedia and Guttenberg are maintained by volunteers and make a worldwide impact on human knowledge.

Some Schools Don’t Have Funding to Make Necessary Upgrades

While 100 percent of schools in the U.S. have computers and Internet connectivity according to the U.S. Center for National Education Statistics, it is not always sufficiently fast for use with many applications. Sometimes the T-1 Internet service required for adequate connectivity is not available. Many are of the opinion that technology in schools is more limited in areas of relative poverty. In a survey a majority of opinion holders indicated schools in high poverty areas had staff members who were insufficiently trained in technology, and use of technology in the classroom needed improvement.

Louisina schools need technology upgrades to meet statewide standards for high-speed Internet access. While they have the Internet, their connectivity speed is too slow for them to perform required functions such as standardized testing. Unfortunately, their predicament was somewhat self-inflicted. Louisina’s governor rejected an 80 million dollar NASA grant to upgrade technology in schools and provide high-speed Internet to those who have been underserved.

Columbia University Says Online Education Requires Improvement

Online education can help many students who don’t have the financial ability or time to attend traditional schools. Columbia’s findings indicate it would be beneficial for both educators and instructors to have some training or orientation in online study because many people use it ineffectively. The online curriculum is not flawed, but the participants may need some training.

T-1 Internet Provides High Speed Access for Supporting Successful Internet Learning

A T-1 channel can provide up to 1.544 Mbits/s. Lines can be leased or DSL. Leased lines have faster data transfer rates and are economical for heavy use. Henry Jenkins, an MIT researcher, warns about a gap in educational opportunities today. He believes students need high-bandwidth Internet to successfully compete in the global society of today and tomorrow. Recently there have been some documentaries about how the lion’s share of school budgets is spent on administration rather than education. High-speed Internet is a small fraction of a school’s operational cost. It is essential that local and state governments ensure children get the educational and technical resources they need. The vast educational opportunities that high-speed Internet provides are necessary for students to obtain the education required to be successful and productive individuals.