The educational impact of the Internet is not straightforward. At a rudimentary level, it is important to remember that well over half the world’s population has no direct experience of using the Internet at all. While this is likely to change with the global expansion of mobile telephony, the issue of unequal access to the most enabling and empowering forms of Internet use remains a major concern. Moreover— as the continued dominance of traditional forms of classroom instruction and paper-and-pencil examinations suggest— the educational changes being experienced in the Internet age are complex and often compromised. In addressing the topic of “the Internet and education” we therefore need to proceed with caution. As such, this chapter will consider the following questions:
- What are the potential implications of the Internet for education and learning?
- What dominant forms of Internet-based education have emerged over the past 20 years?
- How does the educational potential of the Internet relate to the realities of its use?
- Most importantly, how should we understand the potential gains and losses of what is being advanced?