The Internet as a Powerful and Empowering Tool

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The Internet as a Powerful and Empowering Tool

A computer in the hands of a conscientious student is a powerful tool that, utilized to its fullest potential, can encourage that student to become a success in his or her studies. Some believe that the use of computers in an educational environment diminishes the quality of material turned in by students; I disagree. There is great potential in accessing the millions of megabytes of data available on the World Wide Web, potential that should not be overlooked. It is incumbent on the educators today to guide their students in the best way to harness the material they find on the internet. “Most of the data my students Net is like trash fish,” says Judith Levine in her article I Surf, Therefore I Am, “and it is hard for them to tell a dead one-legged crab from a healthy sea bass.”(Levine, p.223) I hear her frustration with students who feel that using the information on the computer is the way to an easy passing grade. However, I also can see where a little guidance from her will go a long way toward helping these students sort through and discover the pieces of information that will help them. Students look to their teachers to guide them. Many schools and teachers have not realized that there is a variety of ways students can access information over the internet. According to a study conducted by the American Institutes for research, “Students report that there is a substantial disconnect between how they use the Internet for school and how they use the Internet during the school day and under teacher direction.” (Levine and Arafeh, p. ii) There is no doubt that the students encountered by Ms. Levine and her contemporaries will continue to turn in sub-standard work without guidance from them on what is a quality piece of research and what is a “dog” (Levine, p. 223). As an older student, I recall the days spent in high school libraries studying encyclopedias (that could not be taken from the library),...
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