History and Effects of the Internet on Instruction in K-12 Schools Research Paper

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Internet and K-12 Schools

The history and effects of internet

The History and Effects of the Internet on Instruction in K-12 Schools

The History and Effects of the Internet on Instruction in K-12 Schools

History of the Internet in K-12 Schools

Interactive Websites and Games as Computer-Aided Instruction

The History and Effects of the Internet on Instruction in K-12 Schools

Creating and sustaining a literate nation capable of democracy, self-government and continuous improvement of quality of life has been a dominant and critical aspect of public education throughout America's history (Ferguson & Huebner, 1996). The amount of information available to students has grown exponentially in recent years. The Internet is a broad and vast territory of information that many children are not equipped to navigate. Now more than ever students need the skills to wade through the waters of information. The current essay is aimed at exploring the history and impact of internet on instruction in K-12 Schools.

History of the Internet in K-12 Schools

Although students today take the Internet for granted, full use of the Internet by students has not been available for very many years. Rose and Gallup (2000) advocated that in a public support survey 69% of Americans indicated they believed the use of computer technology had improved the quality of instruction at their local schools; 82% believed that schools should invest in computer technology for instruction purposes. Reviewing the history of the Internet supports the realization of how quickly technology has advanced and is constantly changing which affects the use of the Internet as a teaching strategy.

The Advanced Research Projects Network (ARPANET) was the precursor of the Internet. ARPANET was the product of 1960s military and university visionaries and researchers and was developed as a communications network that would work in the event of a nuclear attack. During the same period, researchers developed UNIX, the operating system that would later influence the design of today's most popular web servers and web-hosting services (C. Chapman, 2009; National Science Foundation [NSF], 2010). In the beginning, only computer experts, engineers, scientists, and librarians used ARPANET. Libraries used it to automate and network their catalogs worldwide. The scope of ARPANET was limited because it was complex, awkward, and unfriendly for the average person. Also, use of home and office computers was nonexistent.

The 1970s brought about new technologies such as e-mail, transmission control protocol (TCP/IP), the bulletin board system (BBS), and Usenet. ARPANET switched over to TCP/IP protocols, and the first Internet communities were built on Usenet and Because It's Time Network (BITNET) through the Internet and e-mail. Usenet is a worldwide Internet-based discussion system for posting public messages by newsgroup. Listservs and other forms of email discussion lists arose from BITNET, which helped support educational community endeavors (C. Chapman, 2009; NSF, 2010; Pierce, Glass & Byers, 1991). With these advances came the first spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail.

The 1980s brought the domain name system and domain name servers (DNS), virtual communities, and nearly 30,000 Internet hosts, compared to ARPANET's 1,000 hosts. DNS allowed users to connect to Internet sites by typing an easy-to-remember site name, which is then automatically converted to the IP address. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) also deployed during this period and paved the way for today's instant messaging. International Business Machines (IBM) corporation introduced its first personal computer and with the use of the Internet came individuals who circumvented a computer's security system causing havoc for unsuspecting users (Moore, 2006). In 1988, the first major malicious Internet-based attack was launched, causing major service interruptions for many Internet users by slowing down services (McMillan, 2007). The proposal for the World Wide Web was introduced in 1989, and in 1990, the code and standards for HTML, HTTP, and URLs were written. The Web was a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative to create worldwide access to a universe of documents.

Following the launch of the Web in 1991, the first web page and content-based search protocol was launched, the MP3 file format for sharing songs and albums was accepted, and the first webcam was developed. By 1993, web browsers were released to the public, making the Internet easily accessible to nontechnical users. During the mid-1990s, the White House and the United Nations created the dot gov and dot org domain names, and Netscape, a prominent web browser, created the first Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for conducting safer financial transactions.

Internet search engine Google eventually set the standard for how people find information online. In 2001, after the dotcom collapse, Wikipedia surfaced, paving the way for collective web content generation and social media. In 2003, Skype became the number-one interface for voice-over IP, permitting Internet users to talk to each other and, later, allowing people to communicate using webcams. During the same period, many social networking sites launched, such as MySpace, Facebook, Second Life, YouTube, and Twitter. The highly interactive and user-driven Web 2.0 website popularized in 2004 is widely used in education because it facilitates interactive information sharing, interoperability, and online collaboration (C. Chapman, 2009; NSF, 2010).

Early on, commercial use of the Internet was prohibited, unless directly linked to research, education, or government. Today, NSF funding still benefits educational institutions and public libraries, but businesses have found opportunities to profit from the Internet. Online business applications are important to education because students need to procure technology skills necessary for the job market. Although use of computers and the Internet has spread rapidly through United States K -- 12 schools, there are significant problems with the integration of technology into the classroom. Researchers have not reached a consensus on the effect of the Internet on students, their learning, and their lives (G. Chapman, 2000). The Internet is increasingly controversial because of the pervasiveness of objectionable material such as pornography, hateful and violent speech, appeals from pedophiles, and other threats. Thus, the proper role of computers and networks in K -- 12 education has become a complex and litigious subject, as well as a component of many new plans for school reform (G. Chapman, 2000).

Roberts (2000) conjectured that programs and policies that deal with education must focus on results and, first, pay attention to disparities in computer access. Although the gap between rich and poor schools has decreased, the digital divide between classrooms still manifests itself in terms of differences in student Internet access.

A report from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA; 1999) revealed that although poor schools had the most to gain from federal policies and programs to address classroom technology needs, low-income students were the least likely to have access to technology at home or in their communities. Therefore, future technology must provide teachers ongoing educational opportunities to safely and effectively use computers and the Internet. Furthermore, research to understand the relationship between people and technology is necessary to support better instruction.

Interactive Websites and Games as Computer-Aided Instruction

Research describes the importance of interactive websites, games as computer-aided instruction, and how it connects to the enhancement of student learning of different subjects. Wolfe and Crookall (1998) asserted that not long after the first computer games were developed they were being used and developed for educational purposes. Rieber's (1996) investigations demonstrated that play is a powerful influence on learning that is fundamental to the development of children and adults. Supporting similar beliefs, Koster (2005) observed that games are fundamental to the way humans learn, can be motivating and provide the opportunity to practice and explore in a safe environment.

The availability of the Internet to students is an advantage to accessing computer-aided instruction. With the Internet being used as a CAI there is no need to have a software program installed and a web-based program can be accessed from anywhere there is a connection available for the student. CAI consists of interactive instructional material that can illustrate a concept through animation and sound and provide immediate feedback. The pace is often set by the students, which allows them to move ahead when they have mastered selected skills. Differentiated CAI lessons provide opportunities for all students: at-risk, average, and gifted (The Access Center, 2005)

Use of internet in Schools

Most young children have been immersed in internet technology from an early age, but as Halavais (2009) suggests, we can't assume that these "digital natives" possess cutting edge skills (p. 34). The amount of information available to students has grown exponentially in recent years. The Internet is a broad and vast territory of information that many people are ill-equipped to navigate. "Students are just being thrown into the waters of the Information Superhighway and told to swim." (Spruell, 2002, p. 26) Now more than ever students need the skills to conquer the vast influx of information. The Internet and electronic databases are both impacting the structure and behaviors of information gathering and research.

The Internet is not structured in its informational hierarchy in the same manner as other, more controlled electronic sources such as CD-ROM encyclopedias or subject reference works (Wilson, 1997). Additionally, when…[continue]

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