Opportunities and Challenges of Internet+ Education

The Internet is one of the greatest inventions of the last century, bringing significant changes not only to human production and lifestyle, but also to education. With the further development of information technology, new models such as digital campus, online classroom, smart learning and big data evaluation are driving education into the Internet+ era.The campus in the Internet+ era will not simply refer to a few teaching buildings circled within the walls in the physical sense, but a learning place that seamlessly combines reality and virtualization. The network has covered every corner of the campus, and every aspect of education management is realized through the Internet. Education cloud classroom and digital library can provide teachers and students with a vast array of learning resources.

The classroom in the Internet+ era will replace the traditional knowledge inculcation and acceptance with lively and effective teacher-student interaction. With rich online course resources and modern teaching methods, teachers can better play a leading role and stimulate students’ interest in learning. Students can use the convenient Internet teaching platform to communicate freely with teachers and smoothly with classmates.

Learning in the Internet+ era is mobile and can be personalized. Students can study remotely with their classmates through the Internet even if they are home on leave due to special circumstances. With the help of the Internet, students can really become the main body of learning, realize the transformation from passive learning to independent learning, and move from rote learning to inquiry-based learning.

The examination and evaluation in the Internet+ era will no longer be a single examination and evaluation. Those involved in education are all subjects of evaluation, and all are also objects of evaluation. It will also be easier for all sectors of society to intervene in the evaluation of education through the Internet, so that education work can be monitored and fed back in a more timely manner. The education data that accompanies students’ growth will fully reflect their learning process and comprehensive quality, and provide references for decision-making on students’ career planning and value realization.

The technological advances and popularization of Internet applications are benefiting hundreds of millions of teachers and students in both urban and rural areas, and will bring about great changes in education concepts and models, bringing significant development opportunities for education in the following areas.

First, to promote educational equity. The Internet has broken through the time and space limitations of traditional education and can share the best quality educational resources, the most advanced educational concepts and the most innovative teaching models on a wider scale, including remote and poor areas, and can largely improve the current situation of uneven distribution of domestic educational resources, provide better educational opportunities for everyone and promote the equitable development of education.

Second, improve the quality of education. The use of network technology can not only realize the sharing and dissemination of teaching and intellectual resources, enhance students’ learning interests and learning effects, but also promote the sharing of high-quality educational resources, cooperation and exchange in educational teaching and research, promote curriculum reform, and improve the quality and efficiency of education and teaching in all aspects.

Third, it reduces the cost of education. The Internet has promoted the optimization of education resource allocation, enabling more people to obtain a higher level of education at the same time, improving the efficiency of using education resources and reducing education costs. In addition, schools without walls created by the Internet also provide the possibility of personalized learning, universal learning and lifelong learning. However, we have to see that education is a systemic project that concerns thousands of families and involves many stakeholders such as educational authorities, schools, teachers, students and parents, etc. The Internet-driven educational changes will still face considerable challenges.

The first is the concept. Today’s students are already a generation living in symbiosis with the Internet, and are authentic Internet natives who can live skillfully with the Internet and learn instinctively through the screen. The post-50s and post-60s are accustomed to book learning. It is difficult to make up for the difference in concepts within a short period of time, and the resulting impact on Internet + education cannot be underestimated.

Secondly, the Internet infrastructure, China’s Internet penetration rate has not yet reached 50%, which means that half of our nationals are still not in a position to use the Internet. Although China’s education informatization has made great strides in recent years, there are still a few primary and secondary schools that do not have access to the Internet, and the proportion of broadband access above 10M is only about 60%. The configuration of the primary and secondary school student computer ratio in some areas is still unsatisfactory, and the urban-rural differences in the construction of education information technology infrastructure are still large.

There is also the way of education management. If students cannot freely choose the subjects they take and the teachers who teach them, if credits are not mutually recognized and degrees are not equivalently articulated, it is difficult for Internet+ education to achieve its maximum benefits. We need to study and develop online certification standards for teaching resources as soon as possible, develop evaluation standards for online learning effects for certified teaching resources, develop methods for issuing course micro-certificates, etc.

It should be noted that there is a difference between the Internet + education and the current lively online education investment fever. The integration of the Internet and education is inevitable and will become closer and closer, but there is a fatal shortage of capital and Internet business models to drive education and the Internet. The online education investment boom that started in 2012 has begun to fade, but the Internet + education boom will continue and is irreversible. In short, we need new concepts, new technologies and new management models in order to embrace the new era of Internet+education.

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