The Internet Is Changing the Way We Learn
Recently, I have discovered how much I take the Internet for granted, especially when it comes to education.
It’s not simply the depth of knowledge, but also the breadth of subject matters that are covered by experts online. Increasingly, I find experts — ranging from finance and mathematics to medicine and engineering — heading online to share their knowledge, often for charitable purposes. This trend of accessing information online has really revolutionized the way people look at education and the potential to reach an audience.
Is education at universities and some high schools really worth tens of thousands of dollars? How can we supplement education with Internet resources? These are just a couple of questions being raised by this new online educational movement that is changing the way information is transmitted.
Take the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example.
The MIT OpenCourseWare is an excellent example of quality knowledge that can be accessed for free online. More than 2,000 courses with lecture notes, videos and exams complete with solutions are posted on the MIT Web site.
For those without the funds to pay the $39,212 MIT price tag, there’s no better deal on education. But it seems that people still prefer to pay the tuition and obtain the degree, reflecting the value of the learning environment and, of course, the value of the degree as deemed by society.
Nonetheless, since the advent of the Internet, more universities have emerged, offering online degrees. These online degrees appeal to a group of people who are strapped to full-time jobs and committed to other activities such as raising a family, but at the same time still want a legitimate college degree. Education itself is important, but it seems that so is proving to prospective employers, or perhaps family and friends, that you have an education. This seems to be a very important trend, as free quality information may be accessed from a variety of new Web sites.
Personally, while I at university and taking calculus, I often found myself after class watching videos on recent math concepts.
One site in particular is khanacademy.org, a Web site endorsed by Bill Gates that is filled with 10-20 minute videos with a blackboard-like background. The site features more than 2,400 videos explaining key concepts from a variety of topics including mathematics, physics, finance, and history.
More interestingly, teachers are beginning to utilize these videos in the classroom to complement or perhaps substitute for some instruction.
Also, educational tools are not limited to online resources or community bulletin boards. In fact, new mobile applications can teach a person everything from Chinese to how to take the SAT exams to enter US colleges.
There’s no doubt that innovative digital resources are changing into the way people learn.
Whether one receives an online degree or not, the real value of this digital information wave is that it imparts knowledge on anyone who seeks it. The Internet not only bridges a knowledge gap, but also an income gap that is perhaps due to a lack of education.
In any case, the landscape of education in the modern world is still young and dynamic. As technology develops further, so too shall the educational landscape.