the Information Generation

Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

It's not on - what do I do now?

You may well be suicidal - and it isn't even on!

I’m in the middle of marking work and I keep coming across students who say that they are writing about something when they clearly mean to say “and here is a quotation from … [name of website]”.

Last year I heard a teacher say in a radio interview that students can find information better than any previous generations, “… they can get as much knowledge (sic) as they want.”

Woman’s Hour – 16 April 2010 – re. “The information Generation”

I don’t think they can – I don’t think many students can distinguish between so-called “information” and “knowledge”.   It has become something of a cliché to refer to the “cut and paste” generation, but that is often literally the case – the information is transferred from screen to screen but it never goes through the brain and is not processed to any noticeable extent by the student.

We might argue that it is then latent in the student memory.   My experience is, however, that because information is available on-line, then the majority of students do not commit facts or information to memory – and worse – they do not even consider the meaning or the importance of the information and it does not, therefore, get processed into real knowledge. Even the knowledge of where the information can be sourced is not registered, because it can so easily be “googled” again – or so they think.

So is it worth considering whose fault this is – and how we can try to redress the balance?

Categories: UKEducation

3 Comments on “the Information Generation”

  1. Is it anything to do with our not teaching children to use libraries any more?

  2. I know of a school in the South-West that has got rid of its library and dispersed the books around the school – there is now no culture of silent study, no culture of using books and learning how to use them. The librarian has moved to another school in the same authority, which has retained its library. Books have effectively disappeared in this school.

  3. fahrenheit 451 all over again

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