The Importance of the Internet in Learning

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Internet in the Learning Environment
The internet has changed the way humans live now days. It has transformed the way we communicate, share information, and most important of all the approach in the way learners learn. Back in the old days, we used to request peoples address in order to be able to send them letters and stay in touch with them. Now we request people’s e-mail address because it is a faster and more convenient way of staying in contact with many people from around the world. We use chat rooms to have conversations with different kinds of people. When we wanted to look up information about a subject, books and advertisements were the way to go. Now just by typing a few words, search engines like Google and Yahoo get the information for you in a matter of seconds. The learning environment has also changed dramatically with the help of the internet. The previous generation did all of their learning in the classroom. At this very present moment, learners are now able to take classes online. People are able to acquire a diploma or a degree just by having access to the internet. It is surprising how the internet has become part of people’s culture. People with the awareness of how powerful the internet is, would not be able to live regular lives if something like the internet crashing would take place. But maybe that is a good thing, because just as it is useful and convenient, the internet can be a very dangerous tool for humans. In this research paper my job is not to elaborate about the pros and cons of the internet, but about how the internet, such a powerful tool, affects the learning environment. With the help of Jean Piaget’s and Lev Semionovich Vygotsky’s development theories, I will reveal how the World Wide Web affects the minds of learners, whether it is in a good way or in a bad way.

Learners now days have easy access to everything the internet has to offer. This can be a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. As Piaget pointed in his Stages of Cognitive Development and mainly in the Pre-operational stage; children in this stage, age’s two to seven, go through a very dramatic change. It is where they make a transition between being able to think symbolically into being able to think logically. In this stage, children’s interest in their peers continues to increase and they become extremely aware of comparisons made by their peers and whether the group accepts them. How can the internet affect a learner in this stage you ask? Well the internet has many social websites in which children have the capability to gain easy access to. Sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter can become of easy access to children at this stage. Having access to sites such as the ones I just mentioned can have positive and negative effects on a learner. Children exposed to these sites are unprotected to the types of learning a learner goes through. For example the Social Cognitive Theory states that humans learn through the actions of others. In sites like Facebook those ´´others´´ can be strangers, and those strangers can either show good things or bad things, therefore exposing the child to either, good developmental factors that affect learning, or bad developmental factors that affect learning. These factors transcend to the Concrete Operational and Formal Operational stages, and especially in the Formal Operational stage. During the Formal Operational stage the teenager undergoes significant changes. The teenager goes through a series of changes that are both emotional and physical. Both these changes can also have an effect in their social lives. The use of the internet during this stage can be a very useful tool for learning. It is filled with limitless information. And not only is the information limitless, but also it is information that anyone have access to within a matter of seconds. This can be a very useful tool for the learner. The learner can have access to information about the changes he or she...
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