The benefits to students of connecting schools to the information superhighway far outweigh the costs. The information superhighway includes the Internet and other public and private networks through which students can access news reports, government documents, electronic bulletin boards, and multimedia products. The information superhighway allows students to get connected to a variety of human resources as well. Students can interact with their peers around the world, teachers from other schools, and experts from the public and private sectors: "The connection to the [information superhighway] expands the information resources available to students and teachers, and creates new channels for communication" (Evans et al., 1996, p. 2).
One of the greatest potentials for online computing in schools is distance learning. For instance, students can receive instruction from teachers via satellite. This capability is especially important for those schools which cannot afford to maintain specialist teachers on staff (e.g., anatomy or physiology instructors), but who have students who desire to take these subjects. A study of science students who took a distance learning class compared with those who took traditional face-to-face instruction revealed that the distance learning students achieved at a significantly higher level than did the control group (Evans et al., 1996, p. 9).
Networking technology also facilitates the instruction of students at diverse proficiency levels. In one language classroom in New York City, a teacher is able to effectively instruct students at different levels of achievement using e-mail in which the students converse in a foreign language with their peers in a Vermont classroom. As the teacher puts it, "Technology has transformed our ability to work with heterogeneous groups" (Cushman, 1994, p. 152). Under the teacher's guidance, students critique and give feedback on the quality of other students'...
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