Critical Thinking on the Web
On July 1st, CNN.com published an interesting article about students’ ability to think critically when using the Internet to gather resource materials. I applaud the efforts by California State and a number of other universities to help establish a measure of how well students find and use credible information on line. As many people point out to me when I mention that I’m a technology teacher, kids today can sit in front of a computer clicking away easily and navigating the web with ease. However, something that I often have to remind individuals is that while students can often give the appearance of being highly tech-savvy, there is a growing number of students that know how to use the tools, but still need to be taught how to use the information. An excerpt from the article:
“This test measures a skill as important as having mathematics and English skills when you come to the university,” says Roth. “If you don’t come to the university with it, you need to know that you are lacking some skills that educated people are expected to have.“1
A test was given to over 3,000 Cal State students this Spring, and will be available on a voluntary basis for all students next year. School officials are already talking about remedial courses on using the Internet and possibly integrating it into Communication programs. If students today are “Digital Natives” and could possibly require remedial courses in digital learning, then this initiative should be pushed as quickly as possible. We need to help educators get through to students when it comes to using the Internet effectively and purposefully.
“More than 70 percent [of college Internet users] used the Internet more than the library and 56 percent said e-mail improved their relationships with professors.”
-A 2002 report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project1
The article continues with a deeper look at evaluating Internet sources with a co-author of the Pew study being quoted as saying,
“The problem with technology and education is how do you fit the new technology into existing curriculum lesson plans. You can’t add more class time and it’s much easier to just keep teaching the way you were.”1
This is exactly why I started this community; to help educators find a way to use technology in their classrooms on a regular basis without having to be overloaded on adding “technology lessons” to their already hectic schedule. The technology lessons should be embedded in our teaching, to better prepare students for the experience of high school and college, when they’ll be required to use technology in authentic, creative ways while thinking critically about the materials they find on line instead of just cut-copy-pasting their way through a class.
1 “New test would measure students’ Web wisdom.” CNN.com 1 Jul 2005. 05 Jul 2005