The internet is a constantly flowing fountain of information. In the 21st century, it is the go-to tool for when we seek answers to our questions, need to communicate with others, or have extra time to spend entertaining ourselves. We go online at work, school, and even at our favorite restaurants. We depend on it in so many ways that it can be devastating when devices go off-line unexpectedly. Using the internet has become so commonplace that we fail to acknowledge that there are still some who do not have internet access in their very own homes. Whether this be due to the decision of the head of the household or due to the lack of an area provider, having no internet can impact children who strive to do their best academic work.
Having internet access at home can be advantageous for school-aged children. First, it provides countless ways for students to learn and enrich their academic skills. So many sites exist for students to practice all subjects. Free, user-friendly sites can be used for practicing everything from mathematics to vocabulary. Ambitious students can even use the internet to learn a new language or learn to type. Plus, the practice modules and activities usually provide users with instant performance feedback. Those with no internet service outside of school are not able to practice on their own like their peers. They are missing out on ways to improve themselves.
Tutorials and complete lesson presentations are also easily found on websites like YouTube. This kind of material can be invaluable when a student must miss a day of school or does not quite understand what had been presented in class. A simple search can yield dozens of videos that demonstrate and review common topics studied by our students. For instance, in class a student may have been introduced to a new mathematical concept like the addition of fractions and then given homework to practice in preparation for the next day’s class. While some of the students will get the hang of this new concept right away, others need to see more examples or have the skill demonstrated in a different way. Finding help online can clear up misunderstandings. What is the alternative for a student with no net connection? Seek help from parents? They may know how to add fractions, but, later, will they know how to use the quadratic equation? The student can try meeting with his or her teacher prior to class, but will the teacher be available? It is a stressful situation for a student to need and want help but be unable to get it.
Research for Class
Conducting research is another way students frequently use the internet for school purposes. From elementary students to seniors in high school, students are driven to seek out facts on the information superhighway. While a research project may require students to use both print and electronic sources, the internet provides students with a fast and efficient way to learn preliminary information. Researching may be complicated a great deal if students lack the internet at home. To complete the required task, these students may have to plan to use the school’s media center before or after the school day. These students may have to arrange to spend additional time using the internet at the public library or another location where it is available. All of this can inconvenience the student and his or her family. While an internet connection does cost money, being without one can cost a great deal of time too.
Not having access to the internet can impact communication between a student and his or her peers or teachers. The ability to send a message to a teacher or classmate by e-mail or instant message is priceless. A simple message can clarify a world of misunderstandings. Phone calls can be made, but no verbatim record will be kept to which a student may refer back. Students can especially fall behind in their schoolwork when illness prohibits them from attending class. Again, phone calls only go so far. Lots of children have parents pick up make-up work or have it sent home with a sibling or neighbor. If the internet is available, messaging a teacher can keep kids on track more easily. Plus, they can electronically send assignments and feedback to one another as frequently as possible.
The internet can enrich a child’s learning immensely. It makes life easier in so many ways and can keep struggling learners from falling too far behind. If you are without internet access, reach out to your child’s teachers for support. You may find that your school or public library loans hotspot devices, electronic devices that allow your home devices to access the internet with no cost to you.