To Google or Not To Google? That is the Question…

Well, my initial reaction to this question is: What’s the point of even asking it? Google is not going away and people are going to continue to access it if I tell them to stop.


This question sparked some interesting questions and discussions around the current 21st century shift in education. Terry Heick argues Google impacts the way students think and that students are uncertain how to “apply, integrate, or synthesize their findings [on Google], making it almost useless.”

Many students have difficulties with applying, integrating, and synthesizing information they take in, which is not the fault of Google itself.  Google has drastically changed the amount of sources that can provide information to people and how often they access information.  I think it’s ridiculous to call Google “useless” because students have trouble interpreting the findings on it. If we ban Google in the classroom, students are going to use it as soon as they leave my classroom walls. It’s dangerous not to teach students how to decipher what sources include accurate information.

And, while people continue to say Google is the cause for problems, let me just say the pre-Google era was dangerous in a different way; textbooks that produce and circulate stereotypes, sexism, imbalance and selectivity, unreality, fragmentation and isolation, linguistic and cosmetic bias used to be taken as fact. Is the information in textbooks “more accurate” than some of the information on Google? Yeah, probably. But at least students are being taught NOT to trust all of the information they find online, rather than viewing what a textbook says as unbiased information.  Teaching students how to navigate the digital world is difficult and requires teachers to embrace educational reform.

I often wonder if the common phrase “just Google it” is detrimental to our critical thinking abilities.  Alarmingly, “the average number of Google searches per day has grown from 9,800 in 1998 to over 4.7 trillion today.” When I am having dinner with a friend and they ask a question, we simply Google the answer. We live in a world of instant gratification and Google gives us the opportunity to solve problems without thinking . It’s a habit that educators need to be aware of and combat. If I find my students trying to Google something, I tend to ask them follow up questions or discuss other possibilities so they can’t simply use a search engine to produce simple answers. I want students to wonder. I want them to discover. Ramsey Musallam discusses how important it is for educators to spark learning and stop using”Googleable” questions:

It’s important that teachers are innovative in their practice because students have grown up in a world of instant information. Technology is widening the generational gap between teachers and students. In fact, Jay N. Giedd asserts that “the way adolescents of today learn, play, and interact has changed more in the past 15 years than in the previous 570 since Gutenberg’s popularization of the printing press.” It’s not surprising many educators are hesitant to embrace such a rapid change in learning. To be clear, that does not mean that old-fashioned teaching ideas should not be revisited because there still are benefits to skills like memorization. Blooms taxonomy is based on the idea that skills need to build on each other and educators need to scaffold learning so they can build upon prior knowledge. As Tayler Cameron states on her blog, “Memorization has it’s place, but we must build upon that information to reach the analyzing, evaluating and creating phases of learning.” I often wonder how teaching pedagogy will be able to keep up with the digital world. Will blooms taxonomy need to be re-visited? What other practices will we be questioning 5 years from now?

My brain hurts.

  • Koskie Out!

4 thoughts on “To Google or Not To Google? That is the Question…

  1. Pingback: Guys, why don’t we just check Bing? – Ellen Lague

  2. I like how you brought up about the world not being perfect before google. There was information out there that people still needed to analyze and synthesize to ensure it is accurate. That information is much more accessible now. In this instant satisfaction world we live in. As for blooms being revisited and practice I feel like many of today’s practices are already outdated. The hard part is the systems we teach in our set up for the past and not for the future. So often our practices are guided by our environment.

  3. Great ted talk video. I always love hearing about how teachers move from rote teaching to allowing their students to learn through their own curiosity and the questions that stem from a healthy dose of experiential learning.

  4. Pingback: Rethinking Google | My Bumpy road to technology bliss

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