When I was at school it was in the day of chalk, and spirit duplicators with the occasional photocopied page. At college, sure the photocopies increased, but visual aids were more often than not a textbook page or diagram printed onto a transparency slide for the overhead projector. When working on assignments the key information for your work was most likely to be found in that book…you may know the one…there’s 4 copies, no one’s looked at them for months but every year when that assignment question comes round they’re suddenly all borrowed out from the library.
The library was the font of all knowledge during college and when I graduated my learning was work related and via colleagues or at night class; which was still textbooks, photocopies and overhead projectors – you wanted to learn something you bought a book. Then I got internet access at home…
These days, the majority of my learning is via colleagues and the internet, if I want to learn about or check something, an on-line search is the first port of call. I’m seeing younger family members use the internet for school, last week we were searching on-line for information about meteors to present back to the class. In fact, a recent infographic from SEO.com flagged that over 90% of students will go online to search rather than use the library, 83% go online because the library is closed (the internet can cater for those unsociable all nighters typing/writing up assignments).
Of course students will need to learn how to verify the information gained and most folks would have guessed that Wikipedia would be the most used resource. That may be why 1 out of 3 academic leaders consider the internet inferior to face to face instruction! While I don’t believe it can beat a good educator in a face to face lesson, it can be an excellent tool for many tasks – the logistics of administration, engagement in class with a challenge or interaction during an assignment. Take a look… I’ve embedded SEO.com’s infographic at the end of the post so you can see some of the numbers and how the internet is used by different colleges and universities.
The internet has changed education and I think it has changed for the better and will continue to grow in use. Some 8 out of 10 faculty report using video for class, you can see an excellent example in this TedTalk about using multimedia in math class. In a Nov blog post, TED advised that 2012 will see the launch of a new initiative called TED-Ed for students and educators; a library of videos organised in categories and playlists to provide an “immersive insight into a learning concept”.
More than six million students are taking an on-line course – I don’t see myself going back to night class in 2012, but I will be taking an online course or two. How about you, do you use the internet for your studies? Or are you a full time educator either teaching about or using the internet as part of your lessons?
Thanks to Killer Infographics for the idea for the article – Killer Infographics creates
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