Friday, June 10, 2005
Search engines and students
Robert Heiny at Tablet PC Education wonders whether teachers are influencing search engine development. It reminded me of something that's been bouncing around my head. When I was teaching (an aside about my job search: I found a summer school teaching job, still looking for full time position starting this fall), I witnessed kids resigned to answer with whatever digits appeared on the calculator. Yes, Virginia, that is an answer--just not the right one. I feel an analagous phenomenon will occur in other classes (it probably already has). Students will think the right answer is anything returned by a Google search.
After drafting the above, I came across Boards Get Brains, Chalk Vanishes on Wired (via Donna Lewis at School Technology Leadership Blog). I disliked the article for several reasons. First, a teacher once again claims that a new technology, here it's an interactive chalkboard, will increase student motivation. Second, it contains a ridiculous quote "My [Nancy Knowlton, President of Smart Technologies] speculation is over the next three to five years you'll see an interactive whiteboard in every single classroom." I don't have to speculate to say she's wrong. Third, the end story of a teacher responding to a kid's question about a worm's brain illustrates my point above. "[A] quick Google search" performed by the teacher (article doesn't say whether teacher or student formed the search query) may answer the question but how exactly does that help the student. My two queries to the question posed revealed nothing startling (see earthworm brain or worm brain). Equally effective would have been a "yes." The lesson learned: if you google it, an answer will come. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't doubt it if at least one student has displayed this picture of the "Parthenon" (note to readers: I couldn't figure out how to add a photo at the end of this post, look at the post immediately above this one for the picture).
"Yes," an interesting word. I wonder how often teachers use that one word without adding conditions and extensions. Thanks for that insight. I'll think about it further.Post a Comment