Only today I heard of the “Google Generation” (though it’s quite obvious to have an inclination to what it might mean.) And only today did I find out that according to a research team, it was a myth. The article which discusses this is found here.

The “Google Generation” is a term designated to the current crop of students/researchers who are supposedly web-wise and thus more (computer) literate. The correspondence, and false one according to the study, is to equate computer literacy with actual literacy.

The study rejects the assumption that the ‘Google Generation’ are most web-literate and claims that, “although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web.”

As an educator, I have been struggling to convince the education that Microsoft Word is not a better programme just because it has grammar check. I have seen that just because people have the tools, it doesn’t help them become better students… ie. I have seen that spell check (and grammar check) actually reduces the ability of the students to spell correct.

In the same way… unsurprisingly… the extensive use of search engines for research has made researching (for me included) so easy, that we’ve become lazier.

It’s not hard to see the myth behind advertisements for buying computers (in India) that argue that children will have a better education just because the family has a computer.

It seems, therefore, that real education begins with the fundamentals… like learning to read, learning to think, learning to research… with actual books… and life.

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