by Jamie Langbein ‘13
After a hard day at school, many students get home and indulge in a little personal time; which often involves turning on computers and laptops. To them, it is a source of entertainment and a way to catch up on what is going on in the world. To others, however, these internet hotspots are invitations to academic trouble.
Controversies about how students use the internet to assist them with schoolwork, especially in specific areas like science, are becoming more common as the usage of online resources increases in a student’s daily life. Those who argue for the use of online resources say that it is fast and easy, and there is a lot of information to be discovered. Internet sources they cite include online databases like Wikipedia and Yahoo, as well as other common sources. Some argue against it, saying that using the online resources is cheating, and also cite that information from some sources, such as Wikipedia, is edited by the public and may be incorrect.
To science teacher Glenn Miller, online resources are more often helpful than not. “There is just so much more information at your fingertips.” said Miller. “It is easier and faster to get information that way.” But he also attested to the fact that such accessibility can also be harmful to education. Besides the numerous distractions caused by social networking and gaming sites, there is danger in the way reference websites often spoon feed answers. “Students don’t know how to paraphrase. There is no processing of information,” explained Miller.
For juniors Stephanie Golding and Kelly Kendall, the same type of conflict arises. The pair recently won several awards for their science fair project and traveled to Texas for a convention at which they represented the state of Maryland. To them, using the resources is a huge help, but has certain disadvantages to it. “A lot of people get wrong information or use it to cheat” commented Golding on the challenges of having internet resources available.
Times are changing, and so are the means by which students get their work done. “I think in the modern day we live in, it is just using our resources” commented Kendall.