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Internet Holds Unique Learning Opportunity
By Marcela Cartagena
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Internet, allows billions of people to entertain and inform themselves, but it also can be a priceless teaching tool for today's students.
"A very important advantage students get from using the Internet is immediate access to information from all over the world," said Dr. Matt Raven, an associate professor with the Mississippi State University's Agricultural Educational and Experimental Statistics Department.
The Internet allows students and teachers to work together on special projects and share their work with any other classroom in the world. Raven said publishing their creations for anyone in the world to view, can make students highly motivated.
"The Internet also helps students develop communication skills. Thanks to e-mail, students can develop writing skills," he said. "And thanks to multicolored and engrossing sites, they can cultivate their reading skills."
Raven said studies show students taught through the Internet have developed not only greater communication skills, but also learned better and faster than in a traditional classroom.
Raven said students' creativity also increases. The computer allows them to do many things because they have access to work with visual, sound, graphics and many more features.
These things allow them to turn in complete, interesting and fun assignments.
"Students look forward to using the computer," Raven said. "There is so much more motivation and excitement in classrooms with Internet access."
One concern many people have is the quality and type of information students will be exposed to the Internet.
Raven said there is software and hardware available to block out certain inappropriate sites for children.
Raven said teachers have a tremendous responsibility to prevent students from seeing unsuitable sites. That's why interaction between teachers and students is so important.
In addition, students will eventually develop critical thinking skills by learning to analyze, criticize and apply the information they receive from the Internet.
"Some teachers may fear they are no longer a source of information, but technology will never replace humans, it will only help them," Raven said. "Technology will change the traditional classroom in positive ways."