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The Internet’s Negative Effects on Education

 

The internet has changed the world in many ways. To site just one example, information has never been easier to access. However, this also means that it is now simpler than before to spread misinformation, which can have terrible results (e.g. fake news and Donald Trump’s election victory).

The accessibility of facts can certainly making learning easier and more efficiently delivered, but the internet has also had some very negative effects on education:

Corner Cutting

One of the main ways that essays and reports benefit students is that they help to stimulate creativity. You have to spend time and problem solve to come up with a topic or information that will allow you to fulfill the parameters of the assignment. With the internet, a pupil can just go online and instantly find examples to emulate. This hinders the development of the skills that they will need both in school and on the job.

Cheating

Another aspect of corner cutting is cheating. Previously a student would have to look for something or hire someone to write a paper for them. Now they can go online and cut and paste things in seconds. Not only does this hurt them, it is easily discerned as teachers can use the internet to check on sections of papers (or entire papers) that do not seem to be that student’s work.

There are also sites where students can buy pre-written essays or commission ones related to that particular assignment.

Time Wasting

There are so many ways to waste time on the internet that you could literally spend entire days doing just that. Students already find some classes difficult to care about; with their laptops and smartphones, they can instantly zone out. This can also tempt them to do the same even during subjects that would regularly engage them.

Does Turner Classic Movies Have a Future?

Established in the 1990s, Turner Classic Movies has been a godsend for fans of old movies. During a period when fewer and fewer stations are showing movies that date before the 1990s, TCM continues to embrace the format. On almost any given day, you can tune in to see a mystery from the 1930s, a western from the 1940s, a horror movie from the 1950s, or a romantic comedy from the 1960s.

Veteran TCM host Robert Osborne, who died earlier this year. By Peabody Awards (Turner Classic Movies) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As you might expect, TCM’s regular audience skews older. Like cable news networks, this is a problem for the station as they will eventually lose them, not to other channels, but to death. Old movies are a wonderful way to learn about the past and appreciate the stars and cinematic techniques that led to the long-term development and popularity of the movies as an art form.

However, the key to ensuring continued viewership is through young people and that is increasingly a challenge for the network. When I was a child, there was not nearly as much to choose from entertainment-wise. I actually developed a fondness for old movies out of desperation; there was nothing else on, so I watched them. Nowadays, with hundreds of channels and so many other diversions available, getting young people interested in sitting down to a slow, possibly clunky, and (horrors!) maybe even black and white movie is a very tough sell. As the audience for such programming declines, the station is faced with some tough choices, including the possibility of adding commercials as a way of increasing revenue.

That would be a real shame as TCM feels increasingly like the last stop for old movie lovers. It’s a cultural source that needs to continue, not just for old fogies like me but for the knowledge and entertainment of generations to come.

Are the Cameras in Smartphones Good Enough for You?

It’s getting more and more difficult to remember the days when you had to load film into a camera, take it out, schlep it over to a place that develops film, wait a few days, and then have to pay for the prints. Hell, for some of us, it’s even getting hard to remember what it was like to own a camera. Thanks to smartphones, we have mini photographic and video studios with us at all times. But is the picture quality from a smartphone good enough for your purposes?

The short answer appears to be, yes, they are good enough for the average person. The convenience of smartphones has caused camera sales to plummet, though there are enough hardy hobbyists out there to make their continued manufacture more than worthwhile.

However, for the average person, the smartphone camera meets their needs and the overall quality of these cameras continues to improve. They also make it incredibly easy to instantly share those pictures.

Another huge plus is image editing features. While not offering you as many options as Photoshop, the image editing features in most phones will more than suffice for basic changes and fixes. Image come out too dark? The brightness and contrast features will likely give you something usable.

Smartphones are also incredibly easy to carry around with you, often even more so than a compact camera. Most people would prefer not to carry around two things when one is good enough.

One drawback with smartphones is the lack of lens selection. You can always “pinch” the image and make it larger, but that usually means a noticeable decrease in quality. A proper camera’s zoom lens will do a much better job of enlarging distant detail without reducing it in quality.

Regular cameras will also give you greater resolution, but cameraphones are getting better and better in that regard, too!