Digital Information Overload Overwhelms and Distracts Students


Home / Digital Information Overload Overwhelms and Distracts Students

Can technology be useful in the classroom? – Image by [email protected]

Decoded Science: What is wrong with finding information quickly and easily if the information is reliable and respected?

Lee Rainie: Of course there is nothing wrong with that, in these teachers’ eyes. What they worry about is that students aren’t necessarily equipped to know if the information is coming from “reliable and respected” sources. They worry that their students’ default position is to believe what search engines give them in their query responses.

Joel Malley: Nothing. I think the hard work connoted by outdated perceptions of research is vastly overvalued. Some questions can be answered quickly. Some require deep thought and take time and are best served by reading research shared by other folks who thought deeply and took care and consideration in their thinking/storytelling. .

Decoded Science: Maybe if ‘quickly’ and ‘easily’ were replaced by ‘efficiently’ and ‘expediently’ we might view internet research differently?

Lee Rainie: You’re worried about the question wording, but I don’t think that subbing in your two words for the ones we used would have generated different results. Throughout the survey and the focus groups, this was a concern that permeated teachers’ answers. It’s very unlikely that using different words, especially ones that don’t have any more or less ‘value-loaded’ meaning would have changed their answers.

Decoded Science: Maybe teachers who did not have the Internet available during their years of study would view using the Internet differently if they had relied upon it for their research?

Lee Rainie: Many of the teachers who gave this answer are highly technically proficient, so we don’t see anything in the data that suggest that teachers’ own technological stills were coloring their answers.

Joel Malley: I think there is some interesting information in this survey but I think that the relative age  of teachers and their experience as researchers and learners must be taken into account.

Decoded Science: The same research questions could be put to the teachers regarding their work. Does the Internet provide easy, quick access that enables them to build lessons and lesson plans more easily?

Lee Rainie: we will be releasing findings late this year on portions of the survey that deal with teachers’ use of digital tools for their own professional development and for day-to-day interaction with colleagues. I’d bet Joel can speak to this now. We’ll have nice data on that in the not-distant future.

Joel Malley: Yup. But, there’s a lot of garbage to sift through. As I’ve been teaching for 12 years and have a Master’s Degree it is easy for me to judge whether the available plans or resources are useful to my learners and jive with my pedagogical leanings. Evaluating sources online is a big part of what I do when looking for useful things.

Leave a Comment