TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Online Research Worries Many Educators

Online Research Worries Many Educators

Monty Solomon (
Thu, 9 Dec 2004 08:31:31 -0500

By ANICK JESDANUN AP Internet Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Go to Google, search and scroll results, click and
copy. When students do research online these days, many educators
worry, those are often about the only steps they take. If they can
avoid a trip to the library at all, many students gladly will.

Young people may know that just because information is plentiful
online doesn't mean it's reliable, yet their perceptions of what's
trustworthy frequently differ from their elders' _ sparking a larger
debate about what constitutes truth in the Internet age.

Georgia Tech professor Amy Bruckman tried to force students to leave
their computers by requiring at least one book for a September class

She wasn't prepared for the response: "Someone raised their hand and
asked, "Excuse me, where would I get a book?'"

While the answer might just have been a smart aleck's bid for laughs,
Bruckman and other educators grapple daily with the challenge of
ensuring their students have good skills for discerning the truth.
Professors and librarians say many come to college without any such
skills, and quite a few leave without having acquired them.


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The argument about 'computers versus
real books' seems to me to be just a re-hash of the argument a few
years ago about why 'computers are used for invasions of privacy,
instructions for building bombs, pornography, inappropriate inform-
ation for kids, etc' but libraries are where kids should be going.
I *thought* we had resolved that one by pointing out that there is
absolutely *nothing* you can learn from a computer that you could not
learn from a library as well; the entire difference being the speed
and ease of the learning process. We did NOT start suddenly aquiring
the wisdom of the world with the invention of the computer and later
the internet. The computer and internet are simply tools to use in
your learning experience. The 'information explosion' did not begin
with computers; it started in the fifteenth century with the invention
by Guttenberg of a printing machine out of old wine skins. So what are
these people complaining about, that the tools for learning have been
improved? It is true that computers have hastened the 'information
explosion', but who is to be blamed for that, Bill Gates, or the
parents whose children use computers instead of *at the very least*
know the 'old fashioned' techniques for learning? PAT]

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