We often hear educators complain that when their learners use the internet to find information for projects they simply copy and paste from the first reference that comes up on Google.
Vicki Davis, a teacher in the US, posted an interesting blog entry about this:
If students take the “first thing they come to” to determine their opinion, then we are sorely at the mercy of Google’s algorithms and the determination of webmasters who desire to be heard. Understanding how to search, how to validate sources, and even how to use deep web resources is an essential part of being literate.
Citing multiple sources is also essential for the critical researcher. The blog post describes what needs to be done in schools to teach these skills, as well as the barriers to curriculum change that make this a challenge. Some interesting comments from other teachers are also posted.
I support her argument: that “the ability to form one’s opinion and validate sources is the key” for digitally enabled youth. These qualities form part of communication and analytical skills in the 21st century.