kitchen table math, the sequel: If your child's curriculum is Google, this may be why

Saturday, April 4, 2015

If your child's curriculum is Google, this may be why

Google 'makes people think they are smarter than they are'

In a series of experiments, participants who had searched for information on the internet believed they were far more knowledgeable about a subject that those who had learned by normal routes, such as reading a book or talking to a tutor. Internet users also believed their brains were sharper.

"The Internet is such a powerful environment, where you can enter any question, and you basically have access to the world's knowledge at your fingertips," said lead researcher Matthew Fisher, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in psychology at Yale University.

"It becomes easier to confuse your own knowledge with this external source. When people are truly on their own, they may be wildly inaccurate about how much they know and how dependent they are on the Internet."
It sometimes feels as if my entire district is now about SEARCH.

And not just SEARCH, but search ON THE INTERNET.

(That can't possibly be right, but that's the way it feels.)

Meanwhile actual books are all but disappearing. The high school kids still have textbooks, but a mom I know tells me that her daughter, who is a good student, never opens hers. She just lugs them back and forth from home to school and back.

Here's my latest intervention on the homefront re: technology: Families looking for technology detox

5 comments:

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

I wouldn't mind schools relying on Google as a source of information so much, if they taught kids how to search and how to validate what they find.

My experience with college students is that most are very bad at searching, and that they often can't interpret what they find on the web.

Glen said...

If even with Google high school kids are having trouble finding an image of the state flag of New Orleans or locating Peruvia for a school report on their favorite kind of Mexican food, it could be that they grew up in a more enlightened time when you could focus on critical thinking about the world without the tedious prerequisite of memorizing boring, old facts.

Anonymous said...

"they grew up in a more enlightened time when you could focus on critical thinking about the world without the tedious prerequisite of memorizing boring, old facts."

It must be wonderful to think critically about things that one knows nothing about, not even that they exist.

Froggiemama said...

Back in my day, we had encyclopedias which were just as bad. I can remember lots of kids just copied verbatim from random encyclopedia articles rather than bother to write a real paper. The problem, as gasstation says, is that students aren't taught to read and analyze.

Glen said...

I remember the same thing about encyclopedias, but the encyclopedia problem was not as bad, because the schools weren't using them to promote the theory that since encyclopedia ownership was approaching universal, fact learning had become passe.

There is no doubt that the ability to interpret what you read is crucial (and frequently underdeveloped), but you analyze what you read using what you have in your head. An existing in-head infrastructure of organized, basic facts is a necessary, though not sufficient, prerequisite for skilled interpretation of new information.

By deprecating such things as memorization of the times table, historical dates, or the location of all US states on a map, along with intentional fact learning in general, "educators" are decreasing students' ability to interpret, evaluate, and "think critically" about what they encounter online.