Step out of your cave
Posted August 30, 2014on:
I read this forum letter to STonline, Drawbacks of doing research on the Net.
I am reacting to it paragraph by paragraph. Warning: Some snarkiness ahead. The original letter is in bold italics.
As technology advances and information is readily and widely available on the Internet, more students are turning to the Internet to do research.
Thank you for stating the obvious.
Although Internet tools are welcome, it is a loss when the young generation no longer gets news from the newspaper and knowledge from books.
Although modern milking and killing tools are welcome, it is a loss when our children no longer molest cow udders or get their hands bloody by slaughtering them up close and personal.
We have different means to the same ends. What have we really lost?
I am also concerned that young students do not have the ability to judge whether information on the Internet is appropriate or even accurate.
Parents these days are too busy to police the online activities of their children, especially with their young ones having easy excess to smartphones and tablet computers.
Am I supposed to accept that kids automatically know how to judge that what they read in books and newspapers is appropriate or accurate?
I am concerned that the same parents who provide children easy access these devices are too busy to parent. Parents would rather blame something else…
Recently, my son, who is in primary school, told me he wanted to do research on war. The next thing I knew, he was doing his research through YouTube.
It may be appropriate for primary schools to incorporate lessons on the dos and don’ts of using the Internet. Perhaps some hours of the weekly social studies class could be set aside for this.
I wonder what that parent might have to say if her child also searched Wikipedia, war veteran websites, TED Ed videos on conflict, blog entries or articles by war historians, discussion forums or social media channels on current wars, opinion pieces by news and TV media online, curated resources by hobbyists and experts alike, etc.
Perhaps schools should focus on information literacy skills such as searching, collating, analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing. Perhaps schools should teach kids how to think critically and independently.
Children should start off by doing research from library books, which are more reliable sources of information, before turning to the Internet.
Really? Would a library book about World War II have the same account if you drew it from Japan, Singspore, or the USA? Are there even library books about current conflicts in Syria, Iraq, or Crimea?
I have more responses, but I will put a lid on before I explode.
Even if you are staying in a cave, you can't expect the kids to stay in one. #edsg—
(@yainping) August 28, 2014
It is time for the parent who wrote the letter to step out of the cave into the new world. Stop hiding. Start living.