The emergence of information technologies and their rapid introduction to various aspects of human life on an everyday basis has caused a significant shift in the way people perceive common notions and realities. In this regard, education, which is a substantial constituent of human activities, transforms under the influence of the Internet. In this paper, it is argued that education in the digital era has acquired new features, including changed content, the altered role of a teacher, and new forms of teaching and learning processes. Therefore, it is essential to define the notion of education from the perspective of modern Internet technologies’ impact.
In terms of content, education is now a system of diverse sources of information in different fields of knowledge available to anyone. According to Chiemeke and Daodu, the concept of education is defined as a “form of learning, in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training and research” (294). However, since the Internet predetermines the ability of access to data from all over the world and of multiple perspectives and interpretations, it is no longer a mere passing of skills and knowledge from one generation to another. To a great extent, education is now more content-driven and among other issues, deals with the selection of proper academic information that presents the highest value.
Indeed, the user-led character of the Internet imposes a significant level of bias in the content that claims to be valid information. As Staub and Hodel note, Wikipedia and other collaboratively edited online platforms interfere with the traditional approaches to knowledge acquisition by limiting the research to mere facts observation (349-350). However, the role of education is defined by its ability to enhance critical thinking, skills development, and knowledge acquisition, especially in the circumstances of the ambiguity of online information.
From the perspective of the role of a teacher, education has become a less teacher-guided process leaving the educator only the role of an instructor in the process of students’ independent knowledge obtaining. Indeed, the millennial’ expectations of teachers’ behavior in a classroom are determined by the technology-driven world these learners were born in (Hashim 2). Since modern youth was born into a world filled with smartphones, laptops, computers, and the Internet, they perceive all aspects of life as inherently impacted and naturally tied with technologies. Therefore, the role of a teacher has significantly shifted under the influence of the Internet.
From the point of view of teaching as one of the main processes in education, the very idea of acquiring new knowledge is no longer linked with the personality of an educator. Instead, it is driven by innovation and technologies that introduce new ways of managing an educational institution and organizing a teaching process. Electronic teaching (E-teaching) has emerged as one of the leading opportunities to educate students of the developed countries with the active usage of digital devices (Chiemeke and Daodu 294). Thus, the teacher may reach his or her students by applying multiple channels of information distribution, which enhances learning opportunities.
The process of learning, which is impacted by information technologies, shifted education from being a system of information exchange between a teacher and students to a more frequent interaction between a student and a computer. Electronic learning (E-learning) provides many opportunities for the students to benefit from online education that enables active application such innovations as the Internet of Things, which enables effective data exchange for educational purposes (Abbasy and Quesada 914). This approach attributes such features as creativity, research opportunity, collaboration, self-learning, and hyper-connectivity to the modern form of education (Abbasy and Quesada 914-916).
Another form of the learning process is a flipped classroom that provides more independence and individual character to the process of new knowledge acquisition. This method puts an emphasis on students’ ability to pre-learn the material before class, thus benefiting more from the discussion with peers and teachers (Green 180-181). The very idea of online education transforms the concept into a more self-evolving process that might occur without interpersonal communication and is void of subjectivity.
Moreover, since the Internet is inherently an educational means that provides storage of and access to all kinds of information, it is only natural that its impact is so vividly seen in the changes to education. The emergence of electronic technologies allows “education to be customized, individualized and universally accessible” (Chiemeke and Daodu 294). Thus, they enable the teachers to apply more enhanced teaching strategies capable of retrieving better results from the students. The learners, in their turn, are exposed to better learning opportunities with regard to their personal preferences and inclinations.
In conclusion, education in the modern digital world driven by the Internet is a process of search, analysis, and processing of the information about knowledge and skills generated by others and spread online. The teachers are exposed to altered roles of being instructors more than educators. The learners benefit from online education and other technology-driven forms of knowledge and skill acquisition. Thus, every element of the educational process shifts to individual and customized work with information.
Abbasy, Majid Bayani, and Enrique Vílchez Quesada. “Predictable Influence of IoT (Internet of Things) in the Higher Education.” International Journal of Information and Education Technology, vol. 7, no. 12, 2017, pp. 914-920.
Chiemeke, S. C., and S. S. Daodu. “Re-Defining Education through E-Technology.” Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies, vol. 6, no. 4, 2015, pp. 293-299.
Green, Teegan. “Flipped Classrooms: An Agenda for Innovative Marketing Education in the Digital Era.” Marketing Education Review, vol. 25, no. 3, 2015, pp. 179-191.
Hashim, Harwati. “Application of Technology in the Digital Era Education.” International Journal of Research in Counseling and Education, vol. 2, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1-5.
Staub, Timo, and Thomas Hodel. “Wikipedia vs. Academia: An Investigation into the Role of the Internet in Education, with a Special Focus on Wikipedia.” Universal Journal of Educational Research, vol. 4, no. 2, 2016, pp. 349-354.