Food for thought, Google is unhealthy for you

…and on a different note, that has to do more about University life more than anything else on this blog. Professor of media studies at the University of Brighton, Tara Brabazon, has done something really brave. She has banned [1] her students from using Wikipedia and search engines (e.g., Google).

Do I agree with it? Well we have been taught and therefore advise students that referencing unreliable webpages and Wikipedia (…and yes, I have seen google searches being referenced!!!) is not acceptable. They do provide a good starting ground and that is my opinion. Not necessarily a complete resource but somewhere to start from. We can not run away from the advances in technology and the strengths it provides. We can, on the other hand, use it in moderation, how ever it is calculated or determined; in this case it is banned.

The Professor says that “Too many students don’t use their own brains enough. We need to bring back the important values of research and analysis.”[1] I would imagine that this is especially true when students copy paste work or they do not correctly process the knowledge.

For those interested on how “Google is the white bread for the mind” more information can be found here [2].

Links used:
[1] Lecturer bans students from using Google and Wikipedia – http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/generalnews/display.var.1961862.0.lecturer_bans_students_from_using_google_and_wikipedia.php

[2] Google is white bread for the mind – inaugural lecture from Professor Tara Brabazon
http://www.brighton.ac.uk/news/2008/080107googleiswhitebread.php

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2 Responses to Food for thought, Google is unhealthy for you

  1. Mal says:

    Agreed. The number of people studying or working (so-called) in IT who do not have the foggiest is amazing. They will tell you that “it’s on my radar” and other words for management bingo, but have no idea about the roots and how to find information, let alone apply it. An interesting piece is to speak with a so-called IT person and say “Syn” – they have a bewildered look. Say “Syn” again. Nothing. Then say “Syn Ack”, and tell them you are talking to yourself. They are still bewildered.
    If anyone reading this doesn’t understand, I hope that you are not employed in IT. You are probably in central government …..in IT security ….ack ack ack ack

  2. Greg says:

    I think this is ridiculous. I am well aware that some people trust unreliable websites they found from Google searches and cite them in their papers. The problem is not that they used Google. Google is just a tool that returns websites that match your search criteria.

    The problem is that people can’t understand the difference between a reliable site and an unreliable one. The solution is not to ban Google. That’s like banning automobiles because of car accidents. It is a fantastic tool that allows people to find information and learn things that they never would have been able to learn about without a good search engine. The solution is to teach students what sites are reliable, how to distinguish reliable sites from unreliable ones, and how to be critical thinkers that question sources rather than believing everything they read – even in relatively “reliable” sources.

    Name one technological advance that is better at disseminating knowledge than Google? Encyclopedias are nice, but they are inefficient and have a tiny amount of information compared to the internet. We live in an age where you can find the answer to the almost any question you have with a 1 second internet search and some intelligent research of the search results. It’s an incredible advance that will make mankind much more knowledgeable in the future.

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