Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sheer Genius

Years ago I was visiting a friend whose son was sitting at a computer nearby doing his homework. I could tell that his mom was convinced that doing homework on a computer, whatever she thought that meant, was going to result in her son being smarter, or a better student, or something. I watched him out of the corner of my eye. He had a list of questions he needed to answer, and he certainly was smart enough to have figured out his technique - type each question verbatim into the Google search box, then write down whatever appeared as the first entry on the results page. He was done in 10 minutes - sheer genius!

I mention this because it's all there - the disruptive technology, the hype about computers, a teacher who probably had no idea that the answers were obtained this way, a student who never bothered to visit a single webpage other than Google.

So I think about not asking my own students questions that can be answered so simply, and I think about how to help them navigate the sea of online information. I also try to remember that I have no idea what information technology will look like years from now, but some concepts about acquiring and using information will forever be true.

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