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    Sunday, March 26, 2006

    Does Google Make Us Stupid? Do libraries?

    It's true that relying only on Google can lead to some erroneous information. For example, searching for "colon parasites" serves up lots of information about colon cleansing. You have to be able to sort the wheat from the shaft chaff (D'oh!). Lesson number one is, if the site is selling something, don't trust it. Lesson number two, is that if it's in a mainstream media story, be wary. Lesson number three - if it's from a professional organization or university or provides links to similar reliable sources, it's more trustworthy. It shouldn't be too hard to teach students to be discriminating consumers of information. I would hope schools are teaching students to think critically.

    posted by Sydney on 3/26/2006 10:13:00 AM 6 comments


    "I would hope schools are teaching students to think critically."

    Good one, sydney. You can crack a joke.

    By Blogger Dave Schuler, at 3:41 PM  

    I forget sometimes, that a lot of schools are sadly lacking. My kids happen to go to a good public school system, even though it isn't a particularly rich one. The school system's achievement score tests aren't as high as neighboring, wealthier community public schools, but the kids are taught to think critically.

    For example, our fourth grader brought home a worksheet the other day in which he had to sort out the opinion sentences from the factual statement sentences in an article. Their school work always tends towards essay answers rather than multiple choice. Even in math, they have to explain how they came to their answers.

    By Blogger sydney, at 4:31 PM  

    I think you meant "separate the w
    wheat from the chaff."

    Just google it. : /

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:07 PM  

    Dangers of internet information and most people can't differentiate which is hoax. I read everyday and subscribe to RSS feeds from 'reliable sources' but I still get heaps of rubbish and sometimes fall for it.

    I pity school children who surf the net, copy and paste and make it their own. I hope teachers are aware of this. Some students can get away with it. Seems like we have to educate the educators.

    By Anonymous ipanema, at 9:10 PM  

    Anonymous, I thought he meant shaft :D as in what you get in your colon if you asscribe to all that nonsense :D

    Probably a cleverer pun than any of us originally understood!

    By Anonymous NephSpouse, at 8:03 AM  

    Like when my mother told me to look up a word I was unfamiliar with rather than her just telling me the meaning, I suspect that the instantaneous gratification offered by google has a similar effect in academic practice and general knowledge-building. It may not yet have been proven but I am convinced the act of reading from a page instead of a screen leads to better retention. Perhaps it is the ease of flipping between screens without fully allowing the information on each to sink in. Maybe it is the radiation from the screen, who knows? If I really want to learn anything from the web I have to spend a considerable amount of time first finding truly useful information, a task that has merits in and of itself as this allows for the development of critical searching skills. Then, I find that notes are an absolute necessity for transcribing web info, whereas reading and underlining is usually sufficient with texts. Plus, it is just so much more satisfying holding a book, always at hand, ready for revisiting; bookmarking a webpage just isn't the same.

    Of course, the forum for this expression of my opinion is the funniest irony of all. I have already bookmarked this blog.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:24 PM  

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