Google Generation

Screenshot from Google search on March 22, 2017

On Week 9 of the class ECMP455, we discussed the influence of technology on society and how have we, personally been affected; moreover, how have the education been affected.

To start this blog post, I ‘googled’ the word google without thinking anything. ‘Googling‘ have become my habit and go-to solution when I am in front of the computer writing because it often gives me a spark of inspiration on what to write or how to expand my thoughts. This habit made me wonder… ‘how many times a day do I use Google?’ and now I am clicking on the tab with Google already open… and I just found out how to check my history of search activities.
On average, I google 30 items a day and there were 112 items on March 5. This shows your search activities on YouTube, Search, Image Search, and Ads (if you clicked on it). It states that search histories are privacy protected but I guess the hardware and web browsers itself can save histories so I am not sure about how safe your privacy is. Wow, I derailed again, that’s what google does to me all the time… and yes, Google has been affecting my attention and memories ever since I became the user.

  • My attention and focus have shortened and often scattered
  • My memory retention has shortened
  • Do not remember the details of information anymore, but rather remembering how to get to the information instead.
  • It takes longer time to accomplish a task (due to the short focus)
  • A Large volume of the list of to-dos and to-reads later (Pin now and read later…)

Thinking of how I grew up and been educated in the pre-google generation and how I have been affected by the technology now, it is really silly of me to think of teaching young people the same way I learned.

  • Copying down onto notebooks from the blackboard, books, and information from teachers.
  • Recite until you memorize.
  • Drill practices until you master the math concepts/formulas and able to apply.

Some of the information I learned and/or memorized have stuck in my brain for good. Some of them become outdated and eliminated from my memories; however, I can google them if I want to know now. Randi talks in her blog post, ‘Google-able Teaching’  that

we shouldn’t be teaching things that are Google-able because we are shortchanging our students thought process. We are hindering their development by giving them linear short cuts that give stop points.

Randi’s post reminded me of the grade 8 ELA (Guided Reading) class that I was in last month. I love this teacher, how passionate and considerable of students’ needs; as well, she is a leader in technology in the school. However, she told students to use their cellphones to check for definitions of words in the novel without considering any other ways to know the meaning of the words. I just could not dare to speak up then, but my thoughts circled. “What about re-reading the line before and after and THINK and connect the meaning of the word before googling?” 

the Google Generation
– the web-savvy young people for whom the world is just a click away
– a generation of young people, born after 1993, growing up in a world dominated by the internet

What do we need to teach our young people now? Re-reading the curriculum documents, what really matter for us and students are perhaps the followings.

Broad Areas of Learning
Cross-curricular Competencies

Subject matters are important for sure (and for you Math major folks), but I would rather focus on developing skills and strategies to evaluate, utilize and manipulate information available to us; furthermore, to make meaning and to connect to themselves. I am reading The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo and I am starting to see why teaching the reading strategies for comprehension has much more purpose than being able to just read now. These skills are all applicable to any information you come across. I also would incorporate more project-based learning and inquiry learning into my future teaching and I know that I do have to teach students how to work in groups, collaboratively and how to work independently before any project/inquiry. I learned that the collaborative learning does not come to students naturally as much as you would like them to. They are required to use social skills and negotiate multiple perspectives, and it is not easy (for us adults too).

So in a way, teachers are here to teach students skills and strategies to work collaboratively in communities, then broad societies.

To end my post, I attached my to-read laters (links to readings) in regards to Google Generation. Perhaps it is already outdated, but I thought it might be worth reading.

John Harris: Is life so easy for the Google Generation?

The Google Generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of  the future