from Internet Business
The Internet is changing education in two ways. It is creating a demand
for education in use of the Internet itself, and it is creating a means
for much more flexible delivery of education. For reasons of access and
awareness, new approaches to delivery can be readily pioneered in courses
relating to Internet use. However, at this early stage, the training needs
of Net users and developers have not generally consolidated into traditional
academic course structures and are more often met through more informal
Education and the Internet has been a major focus of policy research in
advanced economies over the past two years, with much attention on issues
of access. A recent study has flagged the need for a universal approach
to 'information literacy' as a key step in preparing the general population
to function in the information economy through 'life long learning' to keep
up with continuing change and with the information explosion.
The Australian Federal and State Governments have funded a range of approaches
to 'open learning' as a way to make education and training more widely accessible.
Open Net and EdNA are both based on Internet access for the delivery
of course materials and for communication with teachers.
Internationally, the past two years have produced a growing number of trials
for more sophisticated use of the Internet in education, in particular the
development of 'virtual' classrooms and schools which host educational activities
for a dispersed audience. Access to library catalogues and to a rapidly
growing range of educational materials is also available over the Net.
Within Australia, almost all the funding available for educational innovation
comes from within 'the system', leaving little space for private ventures
to offer innovative educational services. However, there are many opportunities
across most Internet business categories for specialisation in the education
market which, with the funding that it is receiving, is a driving force
in use of the Net. There is already one Access Provider specialising in
providing connections to schools, as well as a political commitment that
all schools will have Net access within the next few years.
 Education Network Australia