Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why I just love the Internet, seek and ye shall find... mostly

I was reflecting upon how the Internet has help me with my teaching over the past 6 years. We certainly have witness a massive change over the past six years and my job would be a lot harder without it. The number of resources for my subject are huge and most of the time it takes very little time to track down a book or article that can address my interest, or my students questions. But here is the problem, to much stuff and not enough time. In order to help students get the best out of the resources on the Internet students MUST learn how to be critical. When looking at any information from the net the first thing I tell them to think about is "Does this serve a commercial interest?". Also looking and the web address is a good indicator to, "Look at the URL... what does this tell us?".

The currency of the information is also a major factor, the net has been around for a while now and there is a lot of information which was posted over 10 years ago. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that 10 years calendar time is a lot longer when you are thinking about currency of information on the net. Now this all may sound like old hat to teachers but just sit back for a while and watch your students use the net to find information. Many of you will be shocked at how even know after the net has been in our classrooms for sometime students still don't know how to move beyond the first few matches in google.

4 comments:

Mark Pugsley said...

Good point about how "students MUST learn how to be critical" regarding online learning and resources available via the Internet. The question I've been tossing around has to do with how to teach critical thinking skills to students using online tools? I don't think technology itself(or only in a superficial capacity) can teach these higher order cognitive skills. How to use a technological tool to teach problem solving skills requires another human (teacher, instructor, guide) in the learning equation.

nathan.hutchings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nathan.hutchings said...

Yes I agree with you Mark, the crux of the matter is critical thinking skills. The more experienced I become at teaching and in my own learning the more I focus on the ideas of thinking, language and text. Currently I am training a student teacher and it is amazing how much we are both learning from the experience.

Mark Pugsley said...

Nathan, your comment has me reflecting on 'where did I learn critical thinking skills'? I have no one specific educational memory, rather a multiplicity of influences, many of them taking place outside traditional education. This is an interesting question and certainly language and thinking are closely related along with social / relational dynamics. (Argyle, 1969) points out how communication, through the use of language, symbols, and non-verbal cues “arose out of social interaction.”