Ask any Techno-Native any sort of random question and the majority of them will scan the room for a tool (desktop, laptop, tablet PC, iPad, iPod, smart-phone, PSP) to access the World Wide Web. Then, they’ll Google or Bing or Yahoo or what have you to try and find the answer.
I wonder if this generation will grow up to be a legion of do-it-yourselfers? This approach to finding out answers is great if, say, you want to find steps to change your oil, or a recipe for Vegan Chili, but not so great if you’re wondering how to approach the goitre that seems to be developing on your neck.
There is no doubt that with the Internet, there is an ever growing supply of information just waiting to be tapped. But, as Mitchell Kapor says, “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.”
Unfortunately, being Tech-Savvy is not enough; in fact, it’s near dangerous all by itself. It’s not enough to be able to find info if you can’t:
- distinguish between good information and bad information
- read between the lines
- recognize and interpret bias, perspective, and point-of-view
- identify whose voice is missing
- evaluate the reliability of a source
We need to look at the critical thinking skills that we want our students to possess, and embed opportunities for their development into the way we teach, and the tasks that we ask of our students.
We need to first become, and then teach our students to be more, Informationally Savvy.
Thanks for reading and, please, leave a comment.