Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Thursday Quote - Clive Thompson

"... the ability to judge information is almost never taught in school."
Why Kids Can’t Search by Clive Thompson, from Wired magazine November 1, 2011

Every once in a while, old truths are rediscovered by new people, and so it is with Clive Thompson: Kids can't search because they can't judge the quality of information.

High school and college students may be "digital natives," but they’re wretched at searching. In a recent experiment at Northwestern, when 102 undergraduates were asked to do some research online, none went to the trouble of checking the authors’ credentials. In 1955, we wondered why Johnny can’t read. Today the question is, why can’t Johnny search?

Who’s to blame? Not the students. If they’re naive at Googling, it’s because the ability to judge information is almost never taught in school.
. . .
A good education is the true key to effective search. But until our kids have that, let’s make sure they don’t always take PageRank at its word.
Google may be new, but the (in)ability to judge information isn't, nor is the call for "a good education".

Alas, instead of critical thinking, here is what's being taught to millions of kids today:

"It’s the government’s job is to watch out for us, to take care of us. That's their job."
The Story of Stuff (see the transcript here)

1 comment:

Justin Willey said...

Interestingly at least some schools in Scotland are starting to do this - my ten year old has had several lessons on evaluating data when researching on the internet recently. Trying to identify possible bias, agendas etc - simple stuff but at least it gets them thinking about what they read.