The recent Net Savvy reading caused me to reexamine my hunch about today's students' ability to navigate the information highways in search of meaningful and data-proven research. I do agree with the author's premise that today's students have utilized technology in some capacity for as long as they can remember. They know how to seemlessly find information (i.e. via Wikipedia, Google, etc). But I have to question their ability to navigate through scientifically researched information to draw meaningful inferences about phenomena. In general, I feel their ability to "fill in the gaps" is missing. Complicated by parents that hover over and control their every move and teachers who "teach to the test," our students today lack the skills necessary to think on their feet, improvise, and draw reliable inferences from a valid base of data. Each move is prescribed. "Johnny do this. Watch out for that. If you go here, here's what will happen."
What ever happened equipping our children with the capacity and fortitude to figure some things out on their own? I'm not saying that we treat them like adults, but we can expect more. Why are we so overprotective? I cringe at the lack of rigor in my elementary children's spelling words. And I'm flabbergasted at the fact that they seldom are accountable for what the words actually mean.
Nevertheless, I believe that this trend of "quick fix information seeking" is contributing to the demise of academic rigor and one's ability to research and infer meaning based on valid and reliable data. If our students are relying on friends and general search engines to locate scholarly material, what lies in store for the field of information technology?