Aug 02

Students and How Google might be limiting them

We live in the age of “Google.” It is a place where many go when searching for information, especially online students. Google searches often make many feel smart, maybe even smarter than we think we are but like it or not, Google is here to stay. Every day students click on Google, seeking help with their assignments, looking up information that can keep them ahead in the classroom.

Research shows that many high school and college students are looking for quick answers, in-depth information on topics and also to browse Google. Let’s face it; it is easier to click on Google than to think about how to get the information we need. And, to be honest, sometimes Google can be quite helpful. Keep in mind; students can become overly confident with what they learn from Google and that can lead to disastrous results. Research has been done which shows that most of us when we search Google are more inclined to remember where the information is located online, rather than the information itself. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that students and others are not learning from Google and other sources online.

It is important to note; even though Google is accessible, it is an illusion. What Google does, as many have noticed throughout the years, is create an illusion of accessibility. Google makes it look like answers are always ready and available but in reality, they are not. In addition, Google often suggests answers as a way to “stop” with the research. Learners are often given a back-button, a fresh browser tab or a link on the page they are on. For many, once this happens, they finish their searching and move on to another topic. This provides a dead-end to searching but in reality the search should continue on; albeit, besides the Internet.

It is important to note; with Google Classroom there are several advantages to learning such as being easy to use and accessible from all electronic devices. With Google Classroom you can create Google documents that help manage assignments and announcement. Communication and sharing on Google Classroom are effective and accessible. In addition, Google documents can be easily organized and personalized. The assignment process is also easy and fast. The feedback is also effective, where you can interact with other students. And, of course, this learning process requires no paper.

There are, however, disadvantages to Google Classroom such as dealing with a difficult account management. With this forum you can’t log in with a personal Gmail to enter; you have to be logged in to Google Apps for Education. Also, there are limited integration options. This causes problems with assignment deadlines and organizing material. Keep in mind, too, that Google Classroom may cause problems for those unfamiliar with the Google process. Converting a word document to a Google document may be frustrating for those unfamiliar with the Google process.

In addition, there are no automated updates. Learners have to refresh on a regular basis so as not to miss important announcements. Some online Google learning does not update automatically; causing learners to refresh regularly so as not to miss important announcements and deadlines. Most importantly, in a Google Classroom, when you create an assignment and pass it on to other learners, those learners can own that document and they can edit it. What this means is that they can take out any part of the assignment. This can alter the content and in some cases totally change the content so that it becomes only a facsimile of what the article once was.

This can cause massive problems during the learning process. In fact, it can “water” down the quality of the content to where it becomes invalid, useless. Also, Google Classroom does not have the ability to offer automated quizzes and tests for learners. Actually, Google Classroom and other Google learning online sites are more suitable for a blended learning experience.

Some may not know it but Google Classroom has not yet brought in Google Hangouts. Interaction between learners and teachers is not possible; only through Google documents. In order for education to be effective and productive, there must be interaction and building relationships with learners. The facts show that online discussions are the best way to make this happen in an online environment.

Most importantly, Google is not a “kindly” and “at your service” search engine; it has been developed to be a commercially inspired site that constantly changes and a site that skews the results. The results it puts forth are constantly morphing and for young minds, they are not aware of the constant changes. Students are simply looking for answers to their problems. And, as any teacher or other knowledgeable person will say, Google should not be the first or the last place to search. Other resources besides Google should be checked out, in addition to Google.

To conclude, Google has many good attributes; however, when it comes to education and learning, it should not be the “first or last place” to search for information. Find out more from your teacher or college instructor.