I think it is difficult to realize how deeply the world is changing. Maybe we need to stop and look back in order to analyze how our single day: our habits, our jobs and even our relationships have been modified by technology. People my age or my generation can easily compare their childhood and first youth with the last ten or fifteen years for example: if we can hardly imagine life without a mobile phone or internet, how could teenagers do it?
I don´t know exactly how it is affecting education or to the role of students and teachers, I only can talk about my experience as a teacher and as a student as well.
As an English language student the internet has been very useful the last years because I have been able to find there the perfect complement to my English classes: more listening, the lyrics of my favourite songs, and the songs of course, readings, etc. Internet has also given me the opportunity to keep in touch with foreign people, in English of course, it means the possibility to improve my writing skills. But the most important change came this year because my English teacher, Carmen, is very keen on new technologies, so her classes are always very interesting as she prepares for us new activities such as videos with the latest news and the blog allows us to learn at our own pace.
As a teacher, my experience is very different. I can’t say that the internet helps my students at all. Sometimes I feel it is just the other way round. It is true that they can find lots of information on the net but the problem is that they don´t know how to select it and most of the time the result is a ‘copy’ and ‘cut’ absolutely meaningless and what is worse: they don´t learn anything, it is only a waste of time.
In my opinion, you need at least a superficial knowledge a of the topic to be able to search, select and use the information properly, so the role of the teacher should evolve in this direction: students should be taught these skills which aren’t new at all, I think you need the same skills to search for information in a library, as we used to do. So, is it an evolution? The difference must be in the number of people who need to improve these skills: nowadays, almost everybody, not only the new generations, surf the net looking for all kind of information, related to their jobs, hobbies or holidays. So, our students need to learn what to do with the information, learn to be critical, to distinguish what is important and what is not, to rephrase everything and to give their work a personal touch.