“Hang on, let me Google that” is a phrase becoming so common place these days that it is itself becoming part of our culture. When asked a question I don’t know the answer to, my typical response is to grab my iPhone, iPad, or computer keyboard and start typing “www.google.com”. In the case of my handy iOS devices, Google has a nifty little bar permanently placed in Safari’s browser. (Although, with Apple distancing itself from Google, this might disappear!)
Are we becoming so dependent on the Internet for information that school learning will soon become obsolete? I mean, once you are able to read and write and use a keyboard, the Internet has all the information you could ever hope to find. (And a bunch you don’t want to find; need I mention the depraved imagination of the human mind?) Fortunately for school staff, I don’t believe this to be the case. After all, any idiot can post to Wikipedia. It takes an analytical mind and critical thinking skills to be able to cypher through the massive amount of horse manure and get the facts you’re looking for.
This bodes well for the future of school teachers and college professors everywhere. However, many feel that anything they see posted online must be the truth. This deluded, moronic concept has lead to more misconceptions than I have time to write about. Fortunately, the Internet isn’t all garbage. Many entertaining hours have I spent either watching a favorite tv show or doing actual research. For example, the entire Arkansas criminal statutes can be found online at www.http://law.justia.com/codes/arkansas/2010/, complete with a handy little search tool that lets you either look up a code number, or browse through categories of legal terms. Quite a nice tool for a law enforcement officer. (Or you can spend $1500+ on the hard copy. And it doesn’t even have a nifty search bar! I think not.)
In conclusion: the Internet does not replace traditional learning, but can indeed be used to augment it, provided you have the common sense to see garbage for what it is.