Googling Our Way to the Truth?

You ask students to research a topic, the googling seems to being going well and the students seem to be finding a bunch of information. You receive their handwritten reports and discover that the students still hold lots of misconceptions about the topic. What happened?

Odds are, they don’t know how to effectively evaluate websites or other sources. They might trust the first site that appears on their search engine, trusting that search engine to take out the “bad stuff”

What to do?

Teach critical information consumption, and how to effectively evaluate a website (we can’t trust those .org URLs anymore).  And… teach basic information before sending students off to research a random topic.

What?! I know, I know! But if we teach students facts (that they can memorize) then they can think critically about the new information that they consume. According to Sharp Brains, “memory is crucial for powerful thinking,” and that critical thinking, and problem solving requires powerful memory.

So basically I’m saying that students must memorize information before they can think critically and apply that information. Students can’t necessarily Google their way to ultimate knowledge, they need guidance and the ability to synthesize information.


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