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Rus Slater

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“the googlisation of learning”


Some say...that Google is going to make geniuses of us all but others present evidence to the contrary. Take a look at this article and tell us what you think!

Rus Slater

7 Responses

  1. It starts very early in life!

    Hi Rus

    Interesting article. I think this over-reliance on electronic paraphenalia is established really early in life. Two specific examples – I once asked a young teenage friend what time it was – he replied 15.47. I asked him what that meant and he seemed unable to relate that time to it being just after quarter to four which is how I would have given the time with an analogue watch. And I was quietly horrified to see a similar aged young man pick up his calculator to work out how much four of something costing less than a pound would cost – working it out in his head had not even entered it!!

    Am I just getting old!!!!


  2. Good PR

    Mr Carr’s book has received so much publicity..

    I was listening to the 9 Sept Digital Planet podcast only yesterday, which the article refers to. I haven’t read the book myself but apparently it seems to be a presentation of a one-sided argument.

    I agree with Jenny that over-reliance on technology is not restricted to the internet but I don’t think it has anything to do with age. I think it has to do with your own drive and interests. (If I’m in a hurry, I use a calculator, if not, I use pen and paper or do the math in my head).

    In reply to the original question, I think it is way to early to draw any conclusions on how technology is affecting us. Let’s revisit this once the novelty factor wears off. And just because there are many many applications/tools out there, it doesn’t mean everyone is using all of them or using them in the same way.



  3. It depends

    I think it depends on the Industry you work in…

    In Medicine, for example, there is more information Doctors don’t know than they do know but they do know where to find it when they need it.

    Similar in the industry I work in…training people how to find information when they need it is as important as training them in the actual subject.

    Personally I would never have a sat nav because I enjoy the challenge of finding my destination with a crusty old map but give it 30 years and I would imagine the car just gets there on its own and you can sit back with a cup of tea and a good book!

  4. the googlisation of learning- Dependence on computers and being

    — Advanced Technology Partners Ltd

    Dependence on computers and being unable to do what we used to do is already rife and fully upon us.


    Hands up those that remember typing pools,  

         or office work where you kept paper files and needed to have neat handwriting?  

         did you update Financial Ledgers that had to be handwritten with day book entries? 

    Before computers replaced people for undertaking routine clerical and admin type work, or operated the equipment that robots now allegedly do much better than mere men ever could, we all used to know what we were doing. People understood what was happening and why, and were able to apply common sense and make rational decisions.  (or at last most of the people could do most of this effectively most of the time.)

    The fast hidden processes and activities that a computer completes for us have become much of a mystery to us all.

    Today we know the computers take in some facts and data, and we know they then generally give out some answers or reports, but most people in most organisations have long since forgotten exactly what is done by their systems or why it is done.  

    This makes it very tricky for anyone to know or judge what should happen and why, or to know how to fix things when they have gone wrong.  We all experience this difficult situation in our daily lives, it is fashionable to just blame things on the computers now.

    I think some of the problems and issues of inappropriate or badly implemented computerising are much deeper and much more hidden than the small issue of taxi drivers becoming unable to find their way around London without their sat navs.

    Who agrees?  

    Who has had issues with inappropriate computer based actions and decisions?  

    On second thoughts perhaps I should ask all those who haven’t had issues to step forward, the numbers will probably be smaller.

    It doesn’t need to be like this, but sadly in too many situations it often is.    Training and awareness are a good part of the solutions.  Keep learning and stay ahead.

  5. It is called progress, it has good and bad

    — Advanced Technology Partners Ltd

    You may or may not be getting old, but you do have the skill and experience that allows reflection now, perhaps you only acquire this with age and wisdom.

    Like you, I worry when I find shop staff or youngsters that even use a calculator to determine 2 x 99p!  but I guess youngsters have to learn lots of other new things today that we never had to learn about at school.

    What really matters is the person’s ability to think and analyse, and knowing how, when and where to find out.

    When I think how many books I needed and bought, and how much time I spent in libraries to look up facts.  

    Today I can tap a few keys, and, via the internet have a much bigger library delivered promptly to my desk in my home whenever I ask.  


    Now that is real progress, and really beneficial.

  6. The Value of “Knowing”

    There is a lot here.

    Like many of you I find it frustrating when the young person at the counter can’t figure out simple change. Since their cash register does it for them most of the time they don’t have to, but when I pull out the extra change to make it exact after they have all ready entered the cash I so often see this look of panic come over their faces.

    Obviously, if they actually understood the math it wouldn’t be an issue.

    Often in the training environment I work in we train to use the tools rather than "just know" the information. I have held for a while that this often leads to a lack of problem solving skills once the users get out of their comfort zone. I try to combat this by adding problem solving in the training that I develop.

    An interesting part of this for me is the brain neurochemistry. If by getting answers through use of simple tools or programs we don’t encode as well or differently, what does that mean for our training? In the last response the person was really happy about the instant access to the huge library available on line. I use it too and it is a huge time and energy saver, but I wonder if because we can find this information so easily, do we forget it just as easily?

    Human beings are the animals that use tools. If we have a "think-mate" installed in our mobile phones, where is the value in actually "knowing"?

  7. Does search need rescue?

    Hi Rus,

    Interesting read. In a recent debate held at Learning Technologies, Googlisation was voted the most influential trend from our personal lives that would have the greatest influence on the future of workplace learning.

    However, knowing that Google favours its own sites (YouTube, Blogger and Google Maps for example) and places these sites high in it’s rankings, it doesn’t represent itself in a very unbiased way does it? Especially when we consider that most people don’t search beyond the first few sites (and certainly few search beyond the first page).

    You might be interested in this blog post which questions the value of the content that Google ranks highly, and therefore why we should be using it as a quick way of learning.


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