How has Google affected the way students learn?

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I recently came across this article on the excellent Mindshift blog about how Google is affecting the way students learn. In the article, the author considers how the ability to ‘search’ is changing how students approach their learning, and the implications for teaching that this presents.

The article describes how a former English teacher was taken aback when his students’ began Googling the question he had set: ‘How does a novel represent humanity?’ Rather than consider the question and evaluate the information they might need to answer it, they instead just Googled the question itself – eliminating the process of critical thinking.

One particularly important implication of this phenomenon is the growing perception that there is less need to remember information if it is only a Google search away. While this potentially frees up our minds to focus on more important tasks, it forces us to reexamine the relationship between memory and learning. What should we be expecting our students to remember, and what could perhaps be replaced by tasks requiring greater evaluation, for example?

Another concern that the article raises is the increasing difficulty that students have in reading long texts. But is distraction is a growing problem for the millenial generation, or are they constantly evaluating information in ways that older generations cannot begin to comprehend?

The author makes the argument that in order to teach the millenial generation effectively, the curriculum must change accordingly and place greater focus on cultivating critical thinking. His advice is to try and devise questions that are ‘Google-proof’, so that students’ attempts to search result in the creation of a response, rather than simply finding one.

Well worth a read.

This entry was posted in Curriculum Design, How Students Learn, Learning Technology, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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