Monday, 24 March 2008
The Google generation - not enough critical thinking skills
A new report, commissioned by JISC and the British Library portrays the ‘Google Generation’ – people born or brought up in the Internet age – in a way that might be surprising to many. Basically, it claims that, although these people exhibit an ease and fluency with computers, they rely on the most basic search tools and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to asses the information that they find on the web. Now, consider that in Brazil, those with easy access to high speed Internet are most frequently those coming from better educated families and with access to the best schooling opportunities. These people lack critical thinking skills, and, as we have been told by recent studies about Brazilian reality (the latest ISEP), cannot read or write in the fullest sense of these terms… What then can be expected from the vast majority of the Brazilian population? I see the “teaching” of literacy skills—basic, digital and media literacy—the only way to promote their empowerment. However, what does this ‘teaching’ encompass? Hopefully not the throwing of the “right” content, but the cultivation of thinking habits, the promotion of meaningful networked discussion towards real independence and not reliance on the same old experts.