Access to the Internet has greatly changed the modern world. People are now able to use it for multiple purposes, from shopping to taking educational courses or visiting distant places. More importantly, the Internet and networks have greatly advanced the learning experience and information comprehension. It is now a tool used by teachers and students all over the world. There are several particular programs and resources which will be discussed in the current paper. Some of the issues will be analyzed in order to find solutions and technological advantages which can be used as a resource.
In the twenty-first century, the use of technology became a part of daily life. Educational institutions become an interactive environment where students can gain comprehensive knowledge in less time. The teachers and professors use new technologies to their advantage to transfer and even monitor knowledge directed at students. The downside is that there are some disadvantages, but there is also a way to modify and balance it out. The multifaceted nature of Internet use has created “a portal” where people can immerse into a database of knowledge. Those who had problems studying before are now able to learn and understand much more because it is possible to learn faster, more efficiently and at a greater distance.
One of the programs often used by students and teachers is called Edmodo. It is an online resource which can be used for several purposes. Some of them include organizing small study groups, having tests, uploading and working on assignments and even involving parents in the classroom organization process. A great advantage is that teachers are able to research and analyze online sources and information before giving out the assignments. They simultaneously can upload new information and graded quizzes. Teachers can also pool this knowledge into one database, cooperate with other teachers to collect the data and then examine the work of students with the acquired material. As there is an extremely great amount of information available on the Internet, it would be difficult for a single teacher to do it alone but with the use of Edmodo, teachers can work as a unit and be more productive.
Another convenient way to participate in a discussion or an educational experience is by creating a website. The groups of people that can participate in the educational course or the “environment” of the website are unlimited. People from all over the world will “blog”—leave messages and comments on a specific topic. In the modern world, sites with an educational purpose have become extremely popular. After accessing the site, students can create their own portfolio, upload their won work and even add media in numerous formats. As such, the biggest advantage of technology is how easily information can be accessed from any place in the world. All that is needed is the device and access to the Internet. A blog can include many chains of discussions on a particular topic. The moderator of the site will check for content and organize topics into branches of themes. Google offers an option to create a unique Internet page with a service called Google Sites. File sharing allows for students to transfer over large quantities of data which could be equivalent to whole courses. Even to be able to interact with groups of people, social values and communal traditions people can change their perspective and understanding of others (Ballard, 2012). A useful function of Google Sites is the on-line storage which allows keeping files in constant access. It frees up space on the personal computer and gives others an opportunity to share data and other work. Social networks have made learning and interaction through the Internet much easier, but ethics and moral codes must be the guidelines in the said communication, being free of disrespectful and hurtful behavior. When using online sources, the copying of information must be strictly controlled as some people tend to choose the easier ways.
Software and Learning
An article titled “On-line and off-line assessment of metacognition” provides a discussion of Internet use as a measuring tool. It helps to develop a link with the person’s analyzing and comprehension skills. It allows setting up a specific course which is aligned with the person’s learning abilities and information retention. The chance to measure and plot the learning curve differentiates between groups of people according to their biological and mental specifics. Off-line methods have shown to be less interactive and influential on the person’s thought process. Individual factors come into play and limit the adjustment of the assessment, whereas on-line resources provide a tool which tunes the interaction to the participant. Even greater technological benefit has been recently discovered, connects studying, learning and comprehension into one, uniting it with biology and science. One of the most interesting discoveries about learning was through communication between brain cells, axons, through their synapses. It was thought that there is a physical connection between each axon that was needed for the transfer of information, but there is not. Chemicals are being released by one axon and they “float” to the receptors of the next axon. The same can be said about the world net of communication and information transfer. The way knowledge spreads is instantaneous, exactly in the way how the person’s brain works. The computer and a person have become one, and this is especially noted when new skills are acquired—at the learning institutions. The technology is used to aid people in their studies by activating specific areas of the brain. There are programs that develop the mind in the most interesting ways. Memory, recall and reaction times can be increased by practicing on a computer. The visual and audio cues are presented, and the brain reacts even before the person recognizes that they have reacted. Simply by seeing or hearing something, the brain makes the necessary changes and adjusts to the environment. People who use such programs are much more successful in their studies because they need much shorter time periods to register and process the information. The time period of remembering the stored information is also greatly prolonged. By putting the two technologies together, one which is used to develop learning skills and the other one, which is used to transfer it over vast space, have allowed people to extend themselves all over the globe.
Applications of the tools offered are numerous. One of them is the advanced learning process which can be applied to people who have limited capabilities. A lot of people are able to think and analyze but have difficulty transferring the information or expressing themselves exactly as they want. It is what determines the cognition of a person. People with disabilities use the new technology of information transfer and interaction to widen their world, and visit places which were previously unreachable. Learning is now accessible to those who cannot leave their house or need extra equipment to comprehend information. Interactive programs adjusted directly to a particular person will automatically respond and connect their work to that person. The whole process has shown that all people, even those previously outcast by the majority of society have great potential. It is still unclear how a person’s mind or brain can hold so much information, and the size of memory drives and processors of the modern world is showing how advanced the brain is. The technology has increased a person’s mind power even greater, so the computer and the Internet have become an extension of a person’s thinking matter. Even in the most severe cases, when the loss of a connection between the brain divisions has led to the loss of speech, cognition, memory, and senses, there is the technology that can be used to tap into the brain, and use the signals to produce an out coming response. The adjustment to individual characteristics allows people to work with the software or networks on a deeper level, which expands the mind and associations formed and stored for later use.
One of the problems with the virtual world, the Internet and distant transfer of information is the trust which is given to the computer programs. A software program tends to suspect the mind to sensitive and harmful corruption, not to mention theft or modifications which are made with ill intent. The hackers or programmers who gain illegal access to computer systems can change or modify the data for no apparent reason at all, simply for the fact of doing it. It can have a damaging effect on people who are studying over long distances or who are passing down information. Even when secret codes, passwords, and encryptions are used to protect the data, it is vulnerable because it was still created by the human mind, so other minds can break the code. The same can be said about programs and any visual or audio programs that are used by people. If there is a certain message which needs to be embedded into people’s brains, then there is a possibility to seriously affect an individual.
For teachers, there is a problem of students using online resources without any particular control, censoring and benefit to own comprehension. The unauthorized use, plagiarism, and numerous sources will greatly increase student’s chances to use it to their advantage without relying on their own intelligence. Also, a student may discuss the topics given with other students, as well as other people. It would make their work less individual and the views expressed and information used will be representative of a collective of people instead of that particular student.
The technology is developing equally for all people, so teachers are able to use the same resource, Internet and software programs, to prevent students from cheating. There are numerous plagiarism programs which check student’s work. There are referencing sites and programs which compare writing styles, giving teachers an opportunity to determine originality in a very short amount of time. In case there are problems with a particular computer, there are plenty of chances to find access to the net from elsewhere. The world has become modernized so much, that there are computers everywhere, in libraries, community centers, colleges, universities and internet clubs. Overall, it is apparent that technology in the field of information transfer, storage and comprehension has advanced humans years ahead. New possibilities can be accessed by a greater amount of people, so the benefit cannot be denied. Numerous applications in educational fields have modified the learning process and the way information is presented by teachers and professors. Separate tools for teachers and students, as well as those that can be accessed by both, progress education and people’s analytical possibilities.