Saturday afternoon I went to the first hour of a discussion on web 2.0 tools in education. It was sponsored by American Association of School Librarians, and was pretty interesting. A quick and dirty summary:
Student need for searching and information has changed, because the process of searching has changed and the information available has exploded. The greatest need (because it’s suffered the greatest change) is critical thinking skills. This will come as a surprise to no one, because the educational community has been shouting about it for years now (AMC: I feel like I was even told while in school that we lacked critical thinking skills, but perhaps now it’s less of a motivator and more of a reality?) and librarians and teachers need to work on using tools and programming to help students build skills that allow them to go beyond what the question asks them to write down to what the question asks them to think about.
My favorite part was discussion about the “google-proof question” or the writing of questions that require more than copy-pasting from the homework email into the search box. This term comes from the Electric Educator, and he writes about it in this blog post here. The basic idea is that a google-proof question hits the highest two levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, synthesis and evaluation. Answering questions as these levels requires thought and commitment, and more than a 30 second search.
As for technology mixed in with education, the web 2.0 part of the session if you will, some things to keep in mind. Students don’t know as much about computers as we like to think we do. When shown a fake website, students in one study thought the whole thing was real. They didn’t know how to evaluate it or how to tell good information from bad information. This is something we need to teach. There are bazillions of tools out there (wordpress, the Google suite, Evernote, Edmodo, Skype, just to name a few) that link students and schools together, boost collaboration, and help with critical thinking that should be used often and with enthusiasm, in order to give kids the skills they need to not just survive, but excel in today’s world of computers. Computers are awesome! the Internet is awesome! But we need to make sure everyone knows why they are awesome. And that’s not a googleable answer.