Impact of the Internet

Impact of the Internet

A Chapter by Debbie Barry

An essay on the impact of the Internet on education. Written for HIS 324: History of American Education.


Impact of the Internet



The internet has had, and continues to have, both positive and negative impacts on education and educational instruction.  As with any technology, it is important to remember that the internet is a tool which may be used or misused, and one of the greatest challenges for the future will be ensuring that students use the internet for its educational benefits and do not misuse the internet for harmful purposes.

A great positive impact the internet has had on education instruction is the emergence of online education, both for college and university students and for K-12 students.  This class that we are taking together is an outstanding example of the success of online education.  As states, with online education, "barriers to learning [have] been removed ... [and] [t]he flexibility of the internet is perhaps the greatest advantage for online education" (Internet's Significant Impact, 2006, paras. 1-6).

A feature of the internet that has had both a positive impact and a negative impact on educational instruction is that the internet gives users almost instantaneous access to almost any information about almost any subjects they can think of.  In addition, the internet provides real-time and reduced time communications options and multimedia access, which make "collaboration about numerous kinds of educational activities" (Hardin and Ziebarth, 2000, para. 7) possible for nearly everyone who has access to a computer and an internet connection.

Access to information and the ability to collaborate have had a positive impact on educational instruction because students and educators have access to more information, more up-to-date information, and more dynamic information than has been possible at any previous point in history.  Students are able to learn about discoveries as they are being made, and are able to be well-informed learners.

Access to information on the internet also has a negative impact on educational instruction in that it has never before been so easy for students to commit plagiarism.  According to Paula Laurita (2009), "[m]any parents stated that their young-adult students didn't know that it was wrong to copy information from the Internet" (para. 4).  Many colleges and universities, including Ashford University, use programs to scan for this sort of plagiarism in papers, but not every school or teacher is able to scan every assignment from every student at every level of education.  It is necessary to stress the teaching of educational ethics, and to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for plagiarism to combat this problem.  Stressing the importance of correctly punctuating and citing references to outside sources, as we do in this course, will also help.

Related to the plagiarism issue is the negative impact of homework help sites on the internet.  While online homework help sounds like a good thing, "[s]ome online services provide specific areas to assist with assignments, including the ability to send questions or homework problems via e-mail to experts in a subject area and receive responses in as little as three hours ... [w]ould the ... student simply plug into one of these services and wait for answers to homework problems?" (Laurita, 2009, paras. 3-4). It is one thing to have a student get help for how to do an assignment; it is another thing entirely for a student's homework to be done by an online service.

The internet offers the opportunity for many positive aspects on education, from video conferencing to virtual field trips and virtual dissections to expanded language and cultural education, to truly individualized, progressive education.  The dangers of the internet cannot be overlooked, however, if the students and educators of the future are to enjoy the internet's benefits.



Hardin, J. and Ziebarth, J. (2000, January 2).  Digital technology and its impact on   education.  Retrieved January 31, 2010, from 

Internet's significant impact on education, The. (2006).  Retrieved January 31, 2010, from

Laurita, P. (2009).  Education lite -- the impact of the internet on education.  Retrieved January    31, 2010, from

© 2017 Debbie Barry

Author's Note

Debbie Barry
Initial reactions and constructive criticism welcome.

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Added on November 10, 2017
Last Updated on November 10, 2017
Tags: essay, education, internet, technology impact

A Journey through My College Papers


Debbie Barry
Debbie Barry

Clarkston, MI

I live with my husband in southeastern Michigan with our two cats, Mister and Goblin. We enjoy exploring history through French and Indian War re-enactment and through medieval re-enactment in the So.. more..


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