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THE NATION

Internet Helps With Homework

Education: Study of teenagers finds the Web beats the library for school assignments.

September 02, 2001|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — For a majority of U.S. teenagers, "homework" is finally living up to its name. Thanks to the Internet, research projects and other school assignments are being completed at home, online, replacing last-minute trips to the library, according to a study released Saturday.

Seventy-one percent of middle school and high school students with Internet access said they rely on the electronic technology the most in completing a project, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

That compares with 24% who said they rely on libraries the most, according to the survey.

Of students ages 12 to 17, the Pew study found that 73%, or 17 million, have Internet access. The study surveyed 754 students.

Nearly all of them, 94%, said they use the Internet for school research and 78% said the Internet helps them with their homework.

The Pew study quoted one 15-year-old boy who said, "Without the Internet, you need to go to the library and walk around looking for books. In today's world, you can just go home and get into the Internet and type in your search term."

Parents are embracing their children's use of the Internet. The study said that 93% of them believe the Internet "helps children learn new things" and 87% of parents said the Internet helps their children with their schoolwork.

And 96% of teachers said knowledge and use of the Internet were essential to communication.

But using the Internet for homework does have a "dark side" by making cheating easier, according to the Pew study.

"Cutting and pasting text from a Web site and into a [research] paper is effortless. So is wholesale copying or purchasing finished essays or reports," the study said.

The survey said that 18% of students said they know of someone who has used the Internet to cheat on a research paper or test.

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