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Education in the age of the Internet

  • Education
  • Political Science


a347 379..384 Education in the age of the Internet The euphoria of technology In an earlier commentary (Kong, 1999), I raised the issue of distance from the c`entre' as a barrier to a researcher's participation in the academic circuit, despite the advent of technology and the possibilities it brings of decreasing relative distance. In this com- mentary, I wish to focus on what technology may and may not do for teaching and learning, and thus to balance some of the overstated claims about the imminent replacement of classrooms and lecture halls with virtual campuses. In the giddy euphoria of Internet development, a respected Oxford professor, in speaking to The Observer before delivering his first online, interactive lecture, said, `` It is a tremendous opportunity to democratize education, which would otherwise be available only to the elite few. It really is the way forward, the potential is enormous, both in this country and abroad'' (The Observer 3 December 2000). In Los Angeles, a group of investors and educators recently announced plans to open a school in cyber- space for students from kindergarten to grade 12 to receive an education entirely via cyberspace. The LA Times reported that the new virtual classroom was `` aimed at the nation's nearly two million home-schooled students, but its curriculum [was] also being marketed to school districts and parents who want[ed] to supplement the tradi- tional public-school education'' (The Straits Times Interactive 29 December 2000). In Singapore, web tutoring has emerged. A company offering teacher ^ student tuition ( makes available online tutoring to more than 100 schools. Ngee Ann Polytechnic has introduced a web peer-tutoring system, which has better-performing students tutoring their weaker counterparts online. Recent discussions about estab- lishing a fourth university in Singapore have produced suggestions that it should be an e-university with a virtual campus, abandoning the concept of `` education that is served'' for t

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