INET Conferences

INET'98 Proceedings


The Pros and Cons of Implementing the Internet in the Classroom: Making Sense of the Hype

Eszter Hargittai <>
Princeton University


Education is one of the very few social institutions that most if not all citizens come into contact with at one time or another in their lives. In the current educational model, students play a passive role in the learning process by mostly just listening to instructors despite the fact that knowing how to access information, analyze data, and communicate with others on a regular basis are essential skills. Emphases in education have to be shifted: from knowing toward learning, from focus on content to focus on concepts, from focus on the teacher's role as information provider toward the teacher's role as information guide. This paper discusses both the advantages and disadvantages of network implementation in the classroom concerning the Internet as a resource base, as a tool affecting social behavior, concerning the pattern of its diffusion, and the additional responsibilities it places on the educational institution. The paper concludes that the Internet should not be seen as a replacement of current (or future) educational tools and materials, but as an addition to them. It is in light of new teacher- and student roles that Internet implementation has to be considered.

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