Education on the Internet Keeps Getting Better and Better

Jason Hazlewood /
Education On The Internet

Online classes used to be a way to get college credits or finish a high school diploma or GED. They allow more flexibility than attending classes in person because often there are limited lectures, no commuting, and students are able to work at their own pace. In some cases, there might be a scheduled lecture, but students can participate remotely from the comfort of their own desks.

From community colleges to major universities, online courses have come to compliment the learning experience for higher education for a while. But what about younger online students? Webcams and conferencing software like Zoom, Blackboard, and Skype provide opportunities for students of all ages to not only attend elementary and high school courses but even many extracurricular activities, such as martial arts or music. More public schools have been integrating online education into the way they teach.

Types of Classes

Online learning comes in many forms, and it’s easy to find almost anything suited to your learning style, even if you are more of a hands-on learner.

  • YouTube has many DIY videos that teach people everything from how to dig and install an in-ground swimming pool to how to sing opera music. Sure, there’s no regional accreditation for watching a YouTube video on your own, but it’s one way to learn the things you want to learn about.
  • Fully online courses usually have a weekly due date and rely on forums for students to communicate and share files. Students can easily collaborate and do group projects in this format, even if they don’t use voice or video conferencing. Classes like these are usually dependent on file sharing for handouts and homework.
  • Some courses have periodic lectures during the week. These get posted in video format, and it is up to the school student to watch the lecture and do the accompanying homework. They are similar to fully online courses except for the lectures.
  • Web conference classes meet periodically during the week using video and voice over IP software, such as Zoom. Students attend as though they are attending in person, but instead they are online at home, work, or wherever they take their classes. These are very interactive courses and it is possible to attend classes with people from all over the world. Some classes combine web conferencing with video lectures, where students enrolled gather for a web conference to discuss the lecture.
  • Physical fitness or music classes will almost always be web conferences, so students receive attention from the instructors. Where enrolling in formal schooling requires books, classes like these might require equipment, such as a musical instrument or hand and ankle weights. Classes like these are also recorded and often sold on video or posted on YouTube as free courses, but many instructors are now using the Internet for formal instruction.
  • Educational television shows for children of all ages have been around since before the Internet, but they are enhanced by the online experience because they can become interactive. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are adding popular children’s programming and that is only the beginning. Multimedia websites have combinations of videos, interactive mouse-driven games, and age-appropriate reading that can teach very young children how to read, speak a second language, or identify the planets and stars.

Some of these resources are so good that more and more schools are relying on them to teach classes. For example, Khan Academyis a website that has organized courses on a variety of topics, from art and philosophy to chemistry and math. Many formal institutions use it in their curricula to supplement their own textbooks. Even in classrooms, teaching and learning has been enhanced by the Internet as students from around the world can chat online using video to reach out to students in other countries.

The digital age is changing education by bringing it into homes, schools and libraries through Internet access. Anyone who can get online has the potential to go to school, from public school to private college. By going to school online, more people than ever before can take advantage of the Internet for educational purposes. Even students in remote regions can get a formal education.

Teaching is also being revolutionized by online education. Teachers are able to reach out to more students using the Internet, even if those students are grouped up in a small schoolhouse in the mountains. Cultural institutions can educate more people than ever before about their traditions and heritage, while science and technology students can watch lab experiments in real-time, but far away from harm.

Thanks to online education, students have access to knowledge and learning they’ve never before had access to. The Internet has such a large collection of our accumulated knowledge that it is like a comprehensive encyclopedia that covers every topic. With this vast amount of information comes research opportunities that can help a person learning with homework as much as with attending class.

Students can learn at their own pace, even within a formal framework, and in a style that suits their understanding. Direct contact from the teacher isn’t as vital when communication can take place through emails and direct messaging. People who work unusual hours, such as the night shift, are not excluded from educational opportunities. Classes can be recorded for later review, and often the instructors will post a recording themselves.

All of this points to a future where the Internet will be a vital need in every corner of civilization. From the most remote rural area to the centers of major cities, having Internet access can open doors to both build new skills and obtain a formal education. Every advance in Internet technology brings with it new opportunities for our students, both young and old, to flourish.

But none of this works without having a fast, reliable Internet connection. If you don’t have Internet or want to make sure you’re getting the best connection you can afford, we can help. Just tell us where in the continental United States you are, and we’ll show you all the providers who service your area, as well as their plans and rates. Whether the student in your life is yourself or a loved one, why not give them the best chance at an education that you can?