Internet is like electricity. The latter lights up everything, while the former lights up knowledge,' according to Kerry Packer, Australian publishing, media and gaming tycoon.

The internet has become an important tool and an unlimited source of data for school going students who use it as a research tool and source of information for class work and holiday projects.

Research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that teens use the internet as an essential study aid outside the classroom and it increasingly has a place inside the classroom as well.

Teachers using resources from the Internet are better informed, and are more accessible to students and parents.

"In our classrooms, technology is used to engage students in learning where teachers are the information facilitators, guides, and co-learners. Teachers thus create opportunities for students to work collaboratively to solve problems and do authentic tasks," says Anna Kizirian, Head of Schools, Raffles International.

Internet plays a major role in education reform, as experts feel that traditional methods of teaching are no longer valid for the next century. "New times demand new ways of learning," says Kizirian.

According to Steven Cox, Senior Education Officer, GEMS, the internet can be a powerful tool when used interactively.

"Real live web cams from around the world can beam shots directly into a classroom to be explored and discussed. This makes the lesson more real and relevant for students," he says.

With the rapid development of mobile technology students now have access to the internet 24/7.

"We are harnessing this technology so that students can access the internet to reflect or reinforce the learning experience they have at school. Through this approach students will become more reflective and inquisitive learners. We also strictly monitor the content that the students view to prevent any misuse of this tool," says Cox, who recommends a variety of on-line assessment tools that parents can use to work alongside students.

"We encourage the setting of more project based homework presented through the media. It also encourages the showcasing of creative work outside the classroom. We also provide parents with skills to interact with their children confidently and safely through a virtual learning environment," he says.

Raffles School is equipped with campus-wide wireless internet connectivity.

"Access to the internet is not only beneficial but invaluable for students and teachers. The internet provides an immediacy and global awareness that has previously been unavailable to students. Students and teachers can learn about the life and issues that affect other people. Teachers can access discussions hosted on the internet and can use them to share experiences with other educators for professional development and to combat the sense of professional isolation," says Kizirian.

With the number of wi-fi hotspots on the rise across campuses in UAE, the use of laptops has increased as well. "Laptops have created a sense of excitement about learning in general," says Raj Varma, Assistant Marketing Manager, VAIO Group, Sony Gulf FZE.

"Laptops provide students with a greater ability to access, share and research assignment at multiple levels. It helps to enhance learning by facilitating research, writing and project work for students. Moreover, the portability factor allows easy access to internet via wi-fi especially now that there are a growing number of hotspots," he says.

Mark Prosser, Notebook Product Manager, Acer feels that laptops are an important educational tool.

"We have moved to a digital age and have come a long way from overhead projectors to the Net, where students now have more access to information," he says. Prosser recommends laptops such as Acer's Aspire 5920 for school going children.

"Most students prefer enhanced multimedia features, webcams, video features, one touch video conferencing facilities, microphones and wide- screens. The market of first time buyers is increasing, so the number of younger people buying laptops is growing as well," he says.

Acer also works closely with the Ministry of Education in the UAE and in other GCC countries to promote the use of laptops in schools and has proven test results on the efficiency of laptops in a classroom setting.