The Experience of Internet Usage in education

Extracts from the Analytical Survey (Document Microsoft Word, 277 Kb)

The Internet allows to “maximize” education:

  • to increase the accessibility of educational services and information resources;
  • to improve the quality of education (when used adequately to educational tasks and
    objectives).

For national educational systems that begin to use Internet-technologies broadly or are still at
the initial stage of this process, there is a possibility to avoid many problems and
difficulties facing educational Internet in the past decade. This can be accomplished by the
creation of new information resources and mechanisms of experience sharing or by integration of
the current ones.

Is there any basis for skeptical and pessimistic evaluations concerning the use of the Internet
in education? What can one say about the state of the art and the tendencies in this sphere?
What are the main problems and dangers facing national educational systems, directors of
particular educational institutions, teachers and learners on the way to Internet-technologies?
Finally, where the information about progressive experience of overcoming difficulties in this
sphere can be found?

To find the answers to these and other questions the UNESCO Institute on Information
Technologies in Education (IITE) initiated and began in 1999 the fulfillment of the project
“Internet in Education”. The goal of the project is the research on the current state of the
problems in the use of the Internet in education and development on this basis of information
system, accumulating data in this sphere. This work is conducted within the framework of the
collaborative project with CII UNESCO Sector (29/C5, 04045) and in cooperation with “University
Knowledge Networks” corporation (UNICOR, Russia).

One of the first stages of this project was preparation of the analytical survey “Experience in
the use of the Internet in education” (V.Verzbitsky, A.Gusev, V.Krasnov, A.Khannanov, D.Yanson).
Analysis of about 90 works, published in recent years by the leading researches and practising
teachers from different countries was conducted in the survey. The data of scientific
researches, statistical reports, national and international organisations reports was used. To
evaluate the current situation in accumulating, analysis, exchange and distribution of the vital
for education information on the Internet, more than 30 universal and 70 specialised information
systems in education on the WWW were examined.

Despite relatively small size of the survey (about 100 pages), the gathered information
thoroughly characterizes the situation in the sphere of Internet use in education. The survey
presents:

  • typologies of the types of Internet Applications in Education, constituting the exhaustive
    list;
  • descriptions of the Internet-technologies, used in education;
  • statistical data of the particular Internet-applications distribution in different
    countries, social and age groups;
  • explicit presentation of the achievements and problems of the Internet use in education,
    systematized according to various types of educational activity. At the same time the
    correspondent achievements and problems in teaching/learning itself as well as in organization
    and management of particular educational institutions and educational systems of different
    levels were considered.
  • a database of 100 information systems in education (ISE) on the Web, which is illustrated by
    a series of tables and diagrams and is itself valuable for everyone, who want to find
    educational information on the Internet.

Analysis, evaluations and recommendations. The systematization of the initially scattered data
allowed conducting initial analysis of the situation in the educational Internet. For example,
it was found that usually only 2-3 of 20 currently known Internet-applications are used in the
majority of educational institutions. Besides, the cause of such a situation is lack of
information rather then lack of financing.

It was shown that the use of the Internet in the sphere of organization and management of
education leads to the growth of economical efficiency of educational institutions activity and
to the increase of education accessibility on a global scale, despite a whole set of problems
reviewed in the survey.

The research showed general and not-so-obvious tendencies of the Internet use in education. This
allows using the survey as an information base for prediction of the situation and for making
decision concerning policy for education computerization. Particularly, the transition from
technologically oriented Internet use in education to the primacy of educational tasks clearly
manifested itself.

A special attention was devoted to such positive developments and tendencies that may become
critically important for overcoming accumulated problems in Internet use in education. For
example, a very effective way to solve one of the most important problems – lack of qualified
personnel for teaching on the Net is to prepare specialists via “professional networking”.
Undoubtedly, the Internet reflects differences in social-economical development of the North and
the South, the West and the East. At the same time it provides technical, organizational and
informational capabilities to reduce this gap by information exchange in educational sphere, and
these capabilities are far above any traditional technologies.

During preparation of the survey a database of ISE was created to evaluate the current
mechanisms of accumulation and exchange of information and to develop recommendations to
administrators, teachers and learners concerning the search of educational information on the
Net. This is not just one of the most complete ISE catalogues on the Internet, but also a
detailed description of peculiarities of a great number of ISE including analysis of their
functional capabilities.

This analytical survey has been prepared for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in accordance with the contract with the UNESCO Institute for
Information Technologies in Education (IITE) by the specialists of the Corporation “University
networks of knowledge” (UNICOR) (Moscow, Russian Federation).

Working party members:
Vladimir Verzhbitsky – research
manager
Alexey Gusev
Viacheslav Krasnov
Azat Khannanov
Dmitry Yanson

Editor of the English Version, UNESCO IITE consultant – Mike Aston (United Kingdom)
Reviewers: Silvia Charp (United States of America)
Zdena Lustigova (Czech Republic)

The analytical survey is published in accordance with recommendations of the expert meeting held
by UNESCO IITE in Minsk, Republic Belarus, 1-2 March 2000.

Experts:
Mike Aston (United Kingdom)
Ermek Balafanov (Kazakhstan)
Silvia Charp (United States of America)
Karel Kveton (Czech Republic)
Nikolai Listopad (Belarus)
Zdena Lustigova (Czech Republic)
Sergei Maksimov (Belarus)
Vladimir Verzhbitsky (Russia)
Jan Plass (Germany)
Tarek G. Shawki (Egypt)
Nataliya Pankratova (Ukraine)
Alexander Tikhonov (Russia)

  • You can obtain the document “THE EXPERIENCE OF INTERNET USAGE IN EDUCATION” (Analytical Survey)
    in printed form upon request to IITE.
    Please contact Azat Khannanov, project coordinator.
    phone: (+7) 095 129-2990
    fax: 129-1225
    e-mail: azatkhan@iite.ru

 

Publication year: 2000