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Argument: The Internet connects individuals with the real world

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Showing students how to use online tools and engage in real world activities

  • Pyster (online debater). Economist Debate Series. October 19, 2007 - "Educational technologies are just tools which can be compared to many conventional teaching tools. For example, if I am teaching my students how to catch a train in France, I can show them real French train timetables or photos of French train stations on the internet to provide a context and stimulus for language practice. My students can use online tools and maps to plan the journey of their choice. Without the internet I would still have relied on tools to make my class more interesting - a facsimile of a timetable in a coursebook, real timetables and photos that I had collected myself in France - but in this case the internet has facilitated access to authentic resources and provided opportunities for independent discovery. In this case technology may not change the results my students get, but it may have catered effectively to their independence, differing learning styles and, arguably, it may have added to the 'quality' of their learning experience."

The Internet allows the tracking of fast-past changes in the world

  • ricebowlsoup (online debater). Economist Debate Series. October 19, 2007 - "Students in the 21st century need to be aware of their world beyond the walls of their classrooms. Being able to access information about the real life conditions in the world such as extreme poverty, starvation, child mortality along with the issues of migration, conflict, security and environmental issues are so vast that using textbooks or print library resources is not really sufficient. The amount of information and the fast paced changes in the world today require access to news sites and organizations that are describing these global issues and offering solutions, some of which students can participate in and learn from."
    • Counter-argument: Don't traditional newspapers fulfill this role.
  • No, newspapers take 24 hours to publish. In today's fast-paced world we need to access news from the Internet. Also, due to media monopolies, we have a limited voice heard in newspapers. The Internet has a broader perspective.

Technology and the Internet allow for better representations of reality through visceral images, video, and audio

  • Knollidge (online debater). Economist Debate Series. October 19, 2007 - "In biology class, students would need to touch a flower and peer into its depths before they can truly understand how pollination works. Everyone will agree that merely talking about the natural world is meaningless, it needs to be seen and felt to be understood. Here, the physical world is enough-technology has little to do. But biology is not the only subject taught in schools.To understand the ravages of war, or the topography of the earth, or the structure of a molecule- we cannot experience them first hand in a classroom, so we need pictures, maps and diagrams. Here technology has a very important role to play, because the Internet has a vast amount of images (animated ones too !) and other material (Google Earth, for example) which can be accessed instantly on a computer. The quality of these images is very high, and the overall impact is much better than holding up an encyclopedia in class. For a very long time, movies on historical themes or figures (like Attenborough�€™s Gandhi) have been shown in classes to give students a �€˜feel�€™ of the subject. Now, they can get a �€˜feel�€™ by looking at actual images of the time �€“and this �€˜feel�€™ extends to all other subjects, even literature. Now anyone can listen to a recording of T.S. Eliot reading his poetry, and find out how the poet wanted his poems to sound. Could this have been so easy without the Internet ? There is, of course, no point in having lengthy PowerPoint presentations when a few succinct points on a blackboard and a dynamic teacher will do. But with a computer and an internet connection, schools which cannot afford good telescopes can still show their students the beauty of stars and planets through high quality satellite images, at virtually no cost. Only technology can provide that experience."
  • vishwam (online debater). Economist Debate Series. October 19, 2007 - "Technology helps a student grasp concepts faster. He develops interest in the subject and his meantal ability thereby increases. Technology helps science students in understanding the three-dimensional structures and also helps them in being updated with the latest discoveries."

Counter-argument

  • Technology detracts from interactions with the real world.

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