Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Is Information in Danger of Losing Its Value?

from Tiger Bookstore Blog
I tell ya, I love how the universe can be “just in time” just for me every once in a while. This morning am sitting in my office thinking about a conversation with my students last night, and along comes this post from TeachThoughtTeaching Google Natives to Value Information.  It found me. Really.  The author discusses so many of my frustrations - not sure that's the word I want to use. 

In class we were talking about memory.  How do you remember information for a test?  How do you know to memorize information that you need in order to learn more information. These are first semester freshmen – just to let know – they know everything already, so I often wonder why I am even there. The start of the conversation was on test taking, but then we wandered into the whole availability of information and how we can just “Google” what we need to know.

They argued that they that don’t need to memorize; they have access to all the information they need. I said, think how annoying it would be to have to look up the times table every time you wanted to do some sort of math. Many of them said they have to pull out their phone calculators to do simple math, anyway.  (Seriously!?)

So, you see where this is all going.  (To hell in a hand basket?)  We know “things” are changing.  It’s okay.  I am good with it – and part of it, for that matter.  But I wonder if we shouldn't start paying a little more attention. The article makes this point:

“. . . the easier something is to access, the less it is valued. It still may be useful, but the process of seeking information—one so full of learning potential in and of itself—is replaced by smarter keyword searches, and improvement by Google of their own search engine algorithm.”

If we know how to search better, we can find anything we want to know. I have huge, huge concerns about credibility and relevance.  Huge.  Helping students develop the nose for credibility and the skill for evaluation is not easy. We can give them all the check sheets and examples we want. 

I still feel there is value in just knowing some things, even things I can look up easily and be pretty sure the information is right. 

I do like author's list at the end: 10 Strategies to Encourage Digital Natives to Value Information.  Good list.

Just thinkin’
Lee Anne

BTW - I am teaching "Better Internet Searching" tomorrow from 4:30 - 6:30 pm.  Still room!