Google, I love you for all your abilities; for your scope and range. I love that I can put the words "knit a cow" in the little box below your colorful logo, click my mouse, and you will deliver to me all 43,259,100 hits that my heart desires and I will potentially have all the known knowledge of the knitted cow.
Many evenings are spent on adventures that you - that's right, you, Google - design and lead. If it were left up to me, I'd just look at that recipe, but no! You lead me to gossip about Guy Fieri; and just as quick as the Fieri foibles are laid bare - boom! I'm looking at the history of Guy Fawkes Day. Click, click, click till I'm sick. One minute of useful information padded with thirty minutes of Internet flotsam accumulates. As I said, albeit remorsefully, I love you, Google.
But Google, you are messing with my critical thinking class and students. Why? Because my young minds are googling their brains to mush.
It's not that you don't have information, Google-pie, it's just that it is not interchangeable with what is required of students' work. If the requirement is to read a passage or a work of fine literature, I need my students to do just that. I realize that you're not holding them down and forcing them to think on a Googley playing field. But, google this: How am I to know that a student is capable of reading and comprehending at an appropriate level, if they can't describe and explain what they are reading?
One way is to have each student complete probing questions at the end of each chapter. Could I give you a list of all my students and get you, Google, to promise that you won't provide the answer? See, after they fill in the answer you give them, I'm still left hanging. I still need to know that the student understood the work. I've been robbed of an important tool.
|Why is blue Cherdo smiling?|
Why is she not weeping? Google it.
All student use is not off limits; we are not savages. Oh, contraire mon ami. I'd be okay if my dear, darling reservoirs of education used your Googlicious browser to look up plagiarism; in fact, that would be helpful. I've explained it till I'm blue in the face (at the risk of being cliche, which I've also explained...). Somewhere along the line, my young scholars have gotten confused and you could help by explaining that when you copy information from a source and don't cite it - you're plagiarizing. It's not your original idea; not your original work.
Maybe you, oh Googlus Maximus, could lead these students to the tale of the appendix, that baffling vestigial organ. No one knows its purpose. Speculation is that it might have helped digest or perhaps it is a storage vessel for helpful bacteria. But most experts think it has no function now; it's a remnant of something that our bodies used long ago - but we don't use now. Think of that story as an anatomical parable for the modern man to download and install.
If you keep using a browser, rather than a brain, your brain might just shrink up and cease to be useful.
(I could be the pessimist and say that if you are choosing browser over brain right now, the process may have already started. Be careful.)