Technologies · 31 August 2019

Navigating the Complexities of Ch@nge

The Internet and Education

The Internet has brought about significant transformations and changes in various aspects of society, including education. It is therefore essential to approach the topic of “the Internet and education” with circumspection, as the prevailing rhetoric of transformation and change can overshadow underlying conflicts and tensions that need to be addressed (Selwyn, 2014)[1]Selwyn, N. (2014) Internet and Education [blog entry]. BBVA OpenMind. [Accessed 23 June 2023]. Available at: <>.. While some individuals benefit from the individualised, competitive, and market-driven nature of online education, it is crucial to recognise that not everyone may experience the same advantages. Unintended consequences, second-order effects, and unforeseen implications accompany Internet-led changes in education (Selwyn, 2014). Subsequently, a deeper understanding of the complexities involved is necessary to navigate the impact of the Internet on education effectively is required.

One important consideration is the tendency of digital technology, including the Internet, to reinforce existing patterns of educational engagement (Selwyn, 2014). Although the Internet may facilitate convenient and engaging learning experiences for some individuals, it does not automatically address issues of low participation or disengagement (Selwyn, 2014). Focusing solely on the technical aspects and viewing the Internet as a panacea for the inefficiencies of traditional education systems would be a flawed approach. The challenges faced by contemporary education are predominantly social and cultural, demanding corresponding social and cultural responses (Selwyn, 2014).

While the Internet undoubtedly offers opportunities for increased integration within education, claims of change and improvement should be regarded as contentious and subject to debate (Selwyn, 2014). It is vital to recognise that the role of the Internet in education extends beyond technical considerations such as personalised content delivery or online content consumption. Discussions surrounding the Internet’s potential to improve, transform, or disrupt education are multifaceted and imbued with ideological implications (Selwyn, 2014). The future of education may involve a greater reliance on the Internet, however, it will not be solely determined by it.

The pervasive presence of the Internet in contemporary society makes it challenging to discuss any aspect without considering its influence. The distinction between being online or offline has become blurred as the Internet becomes an implicit and constant presence in people’s lives (Selwyn, 2014). For younger generations, the Internet is akin to the air they breathe, an essential and inseparable part of modern life (Tapscott, 2009)[2]Tapscott, D. (2009) Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World. McGraw-Hill Education. making discussing the Internet and education an essential discussion in today’s educational world.

As the Internet continues to shape and redefine various aspects of society, including education, it is key to approach the topic with critical thinking and careful consideration. The Internet’s impact on education is not a linear path towards progress but rather a complex web of interconnected social, cultural, and technical factors. While the Internet offers promising opportunities for education, it is crucial to recognise its limitations and ensure that changes are implemented with a nuanced understanding of the diverse needs and challenges within the education landscape. Ultimately, the future of education will be shaped by a collective response that combines technological advancements with social and cultural considerations.

Download Full Text (PDF)

#ChangeIsInevitable #EducationTransformed #InternetRevolution #DigitalLearning #InnovationInEducation #FutureOfLearning #TechDrivenEducation #EducationEvolved #AdaptingToChange #LearningWithTechnology


1 Selwyn, N. (2014) Internet and Education [blog entry]. BBVA OpenMind. [Accessed 23 June 2023]. Available at: <>.
2 Tapscott, D. (2009) Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World. McGraw-Hill Education.