Home > 21st Century Classroom, 21st Century Literacy > “Searching Online Is A Waste of Time” – Really?!?!?!

“Searching Online Is A Waste of Time” – Really?!?!?!


Once upon a time my partner, Susana , was sitting in a room full of teachers when she overheard something that got her blood flowing.

Before I go on, I guess I should tell you some background.  Susana and I work full-time as consultants for publicly funded schools promoting 21st Century teaching and learning strategies.  We work with teachers to promote reflective practice and focus on teaching teachers to teach learning strategies.

So, imagine Susana and I sitting at the lunch table, when across the room a teacher says

I tell my students to just use their textbooks to find information, searching online is a waste of time

Wow, really?  [start sarcasm] Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for promoting the use of expensive textbooks bought with public funding.  How else would unnamed publishing companies make their money on information that is available for free? [/end sarcasm] Seriously, information is so abundant it is effectively worthless.  Our jobs as educators in the 21st century is to teach our students to discern between what is required and what is superfluous.  Students must learn to discriminate between reliable and unreliable sources.  Susana would agree with me when I say that this skill is possibly one of the most important in the digital world and in a global community.  Information is coming at them more than ever on; google, bing, facebook, twitter, the blogosphere, YouTube, podcasts, tv news broadcast, radio and… oh yeah, print resources including textbooks.

The only way that our students will learn this is if we explicitly teach these skills and provide opportunity to hone them.  Searching online is anything but a waste of time.

E

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  1. October 3, 2010 at 22:43

    Great post! I wrote a bunch of classes when I was in Prof Development that specifically targeted the need to teach students (and adults!) to be discerning consumers and producers online. Oddly, they weren’t so popular with the teachers, but the paras and media staff loved it. By learning a few tips & tricks to searching efficiently, many of the participants in the class felt relieved! Searches no longer results in millions of returns, and they knew that they could find relevant results.

    I can’t for the life of me understand why people choose to ignore the crushing amount of information out there. How can we ignore this? How is that responsible and ethical teaching?

    Truly puzzled.

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