‘The Internet will never replace traditional course books in schools.’ How far do you agree with this prediction?

There is a huge range of resources available to the modern teacher, and the right selection is crucial in delivering effective lessons. I agree that there will always be a place for course books in the school curriculum, despite the many benefits of the Internet. Firstly, course books (whether conventional or digital) have been developed by pedagogical experts and designed to be incorporated into a subject syllabus, leading to testing procedures such as formal examinations or continuous assessment. This means that they are proven to improve students’ academic achievement, enhancing their potential for progression to further or higher education. Furthermore, the use of modern course books allows pupils to coordinate their studies as part of group work, hopefully making their lessons less teacher-led and more about autonomous learning. This in itself teaches study skills such as independent research and synthesising sources, rather than old-fashioned rote-learning. This is where the Internet, in fact, can play a useful part: to supplement and add to the knowledge which the students are assimilating via their course books. However, it is the role of teachers and school management generally to ensure that use of the Internet remains a guided learning process, and not an exercise in data-gathering from Internet sources which may be unreliable or even misleading. It is true that the Internet can be invaluable for adults (for example, distance learning or self-study modules) who are able to discriminate between sources and sift information to marshal their facts. However, this is a mature skill and we should not assume that school age pupils are ready to do this. Overall, it appears that course books, with their quality and depth of material, are set to remain an integral part of the syllabus. The internet can be judged a useful supplement to this, if used carefully and under supervision.
Submitted by Aziza on
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