“The Internet could be a very positive step towards education, organisation, and participation in a meaningful society.”
Noam Chomsky might have been being overly optimistic when he said the words above, but there is little doubt that the Internet, particularly the search engine, has changed the face of education.
More than a decade ago, education was an affair that involved a lot of paper. Students were given books to read. Research for school assignments required poring through pages in a dictionary, encyclopedia, and in other reference books. When looking for the right page and chapter, one had to visit the table of contents and the index.
Nowadays, much of the paper has been replaced by pixels. It only takes a few clicks to find definitions, dates, personalities, causalities, and principles valuable to many assignments and school projects. The automatic response for many students is to Google the topic.
A study conducted by Pew Internet during the latter part of 2012 reported that “94% of the teachers surveyed say their students are ‘very likely’ to use Google or other online search engines in a typical research assignment,” while print textbooks and other printed references were behind at only 18% and 12%, respectively.
Meanwhile, 77% of teachers surveyed said that the Internet has had a “mostly positive” impact to education, and 99% of them agreed that the Internet gave students a wider range of resources than what was normally available years ago. Moreover, 65% concluded that web access has helped students become more self-sufficient researchers.
While the goal to educate remains the same, there is little doubt that the education sector will adapt its methods to the times. The popularity of search engines among students today is a sign of this. What’s left to be done is to ensure that students are indeed benefiting from using the Internet as a means for educational research.
search engine, Google, education