Posted by: Meg | 26 March 2006

search engines make people dumber?

Searching for Dummies

i don’t feel that this man makes an adequate argument linking search engines with the decline in interpretive skills since 1992.  i would argue that in 1992 and for several years after, most students were still using card catalogues and going to the library instead of trying to find information online. 

perhaps the challenge of tel aviv university’s three tasks has waned in two years.  i found all three things in well under two minutes.  maybe it’s google.  he should have done these three tasks and showed how fast google can find them and elucidate the change.  not to mention, even with google there is a little bit of a trick to finding things.  you can’t put “mona lisa” in images and trust that the first response is the famous painting (because it’s not).  you still have to know to put in “text david copperfield” and “apple pie pic” and even then you have to look at your results.  and who can’t find stuff about “world history”?  maybe students really do know how to use search engines well.  and perhaps, then, students can spend more time actually thinking critically instead of memorizing every piece of information that used to be required. 
first: a pic of the Mona Lisa
full text of David Copperfield
apple pie with not only a picture, but pictures showing how to make it.


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