“If we use Google, we get kicked off the computer.”
January 23, 2008 § 3 Comments
One of my colleagues said that her daughter came home saying this a couple of weeks ago because their school now has Nettrekker. Now I’m all for making Internet searches easier for kids, but there has been a push around here to use Nettrekker as the only choice for Internet research.
The argument goes like this: “Do you have a good set of encyclopedias and a crappy set of encyclopedias in your library so you can teach kids the difference between good information and bad information? Then why would you teach them to search using Google?”
I think that argument sucks. Even back in the day, you could pretty much believe that anything in hardback had been checked and rechecked. Information literacy wasn’t needed (as much) because you knew that publishers had weeded out the crap for you.
Today, though, everyone needs to have a solid schooling in information literacy because of the simple fact that information is so much more readily available. No longer do I have to trek down to the library to do my research. I can do it from my bed in my pajamas.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Nettrekker is a great tool. But it’s just a tool, and it has it’s flaws. When students get to the real world, they’re not going to have a Nettrekker account so they’re going to have to discern for themselves what information is valid and what is not.
So I guess the real question here is, are we trying to educate our students, or make the job of educating easier for the teacher?