"The Internet: A Necessity Or Luxury In The Public School Classroom."
Modems, e-mail, www's and .com's - are these phrases merely a part of a worldwide fad, or are they here to stay? And if they are, then what role should they play in the future of public education? Many times, new things come along, and we all jump on the big boat of opportunity so quickly that we forget to look at the long term merits of what we're boarding. The Internet is a good example of this, and we should all take a much closer look before we decide whether the Internet has a purpose and a place in the public schools of tomorrow.
Education is merely preparing students for the future. But what is the future? No one can say with certainty. But by taking a quick look around us, we can guess that the Internet will play a prominent role in our future. If we look at the stock market, for example, we can see internet and technology stocks skyrocketing beginning their first day on the market. Or, turn on the television and one will surely hear a commercial telling everyone to check out their company's web site for more information on their product. Daily, we can see the Internet becoming more integrated in our lives and in the lives of our youth. Without the internet in our schools, how will teachers instruct students to take full advantage of what the internet has to offer?
After establishing that the Internet is indeed a growing part of our society that will not likely disappear soon, schools and their administrators must decide if the Internet is a necessity or a luxury. The answer is simple; the Internet is a luxury. If it were a necessity for public schools' survival, then how have they made it this far without it? Though the Internet is a luxury, that does not mean it has no place in public schools. Imagine schools today without luxuries such as the light bulb, copy machine, or personal computer. Ten years ago, it would have been impossible to compose a letter, to send it, and have it received all in a matter of seconds. It is imperative that students are taught how to access these new opportunities so that when compared with other students anywhere in the world, they will not lag behind in Internet proficiency.
Schools must begin to incorporate internet education into their regular curriculum in order for students to be successful in today's internet-savvy world. It is the responsibility of public schools to prepare our students for the future, and without the Internet in our schools, this would be impossible. By forbidding the internet to enter our schools, we would be condemning our students by sending them out into the age of the internet, being armed with nothing. Though the merit of the Internet itself will continue to be debated, it is obviously becoming an important part of our society and, therefore, must also become an important part of our schools, which are the future of our society. Had the youth of yesterday not been taught how to use computers, then they could not have created the internet of today. Therefore, if students of today are not taught how to use the Internet, then we are limiting the possibility of new discoveries tomorrow. It is important that we realize this: the education that is provided for our youth today will determine our future.
In conclusion, schools and its communities must accept the inevitable and climb aboard the Internet ship of opportunity before it sets sail, leaving the future of our students, communities and nation behind. Where will this fateful journey end? Will it end in tragedy such as the Titanic, or will we be sailing on the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria to end at yet another beginning where something newer and more exciting awaits us? Only time can tell.