The things you can do and learn online for General Paper (and Project Work).

‘Are search engines making today’s students dumber?’

In the Review section of today’s Straits Times (subscription required):,5562,381014,00.html?
Somebody ripped it out and put it on his blog with attribution here:

Another interesting article by the same author: How Books Bounced — and Bit — Back, originally published in the Boston Globe

Last link taken off the author’s website:


Comments on: "‘Searching for Dummies’ or ‘Brain drained by Google?’" (3)

  1. This would not be the time to think whether the web is making us stupid. The web is now an extension of the brain, just like cars are an extension of the feet. The question at hand, would be, IMHO, to learn how to harness the power of the web, and know when to and when not to trust sources. The situation at hand, is not about how to use traditional methods and harness the web, but rather, to accept the inevitible paradigm shift – instead of taking the computer as the tool with which we access the web, we need to think that the web is the tool we use to access information from all around the world. Think of it as a calculator – yes, calculators may make our brains lazy when it comes to mental sums, but because we have accepted calucaltors as an extension of our “mathematical brain”, we have decided to give all the calculation work to the calculator and instead focus on “higher level”, analytical work. We need to do the same with the Web.

    Three other things:

    1. My experience with the web tells me that, as much as the web has made all the information instantaneously accessible, it is still fragmented, into different language domains. This is because translation (at a level that can pass the turing test) is currently still quite beyond today’s technology, and often I still have to search various sources for information.

    2. More and more, I realise that there is a lot of information that I still cannot, at this time, find on the web. Nich knowledge is still passed from person to person, or buried in books. But what the Web has done for me, at least, is to tell me that what I’m looking for is not easily available. At least, now, when I tell people “this is not easy”, I know far better than before, what my words really mean.

    3. I don’t understand how, with all these search engines running around, people can call me and ask “I have a problem with my computer…” and have me google and read them the solution off my screen.

  2. Brilliant. Thanks, zlel.

  3. Thorsten said:

    Einstein once said: “I don’t need to memorize things. I just need to know where to look it up.”

    I think this neatly summarizes it. Implementation of that insight is a major challenge to teachers, and schools. GP turns into “Google Practice”? 😉

    No, dear students, this does not mean that your life will be easier. Instead of just summarizing in some cases, IMHO, creating and synthesizing, processing, digesting information in context will be even more crucial. When you will be allowed to take your laptops, PDAs and mobile phones into the exams, you will have to find your way as a knowledge worker. Possibly with the school providing legal wireless access a la IEEE 802.11b/g/n/x and GSM/3G to the internet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: