Friday, November 09, 2007

Using the internet in scholarship

I've just been reading Jill Walker's recent post about encouraging 10/11 year olds to evaluate the resources they find on the internet. It resonated with several issues that have come up for me this week. First, my daughter has come home from school with a CD ROM which will apparently equip me to know how to help her use the internet safely. Shame my laptop doesn't have a CD drive. Will have to take that one to work to read in my lunch break (did I just say lunch break? Since when did I ever take one of those??). My daughter uses google quite happily because she likes making PPT presentations just for fun, and uses google to find pictures to illustrate her creations. She's 8 years old, by the way. I must admit I've just been a bit naive about letting her get on with it, but I guess that time has passed and some need for evaluation (all kinds) is here already. Second, I've just finished grading my new first years' first assignments. Well, they did ok, but it was so marked that 95% of them were supplementing the course text book only with online documents they had found. And while these sources were reputable enough (no wikipedia), I found myself vaguely irritated by this. Don't my students read research published in books anymore? Or is it just too time consuming to go to the library and find printed studies, when we've linked all sorts of interesting sites into our VLE? Oh, I am sounding more than a bit jaundiced. Maybe this is as revealing of my own prejudice as anything else. On the other hand, the wiki project is still going well, and students are annotating their work with interesting online material week by week. And that doesn't irritate me at all - quite the opposite!



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