Google is changing how teachers teach, and how students learn

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WAND) - When you need to find information or get an answer to a question what do you do?  Most people google it. Or, use another search engine, but are search engines changing how children learn?

"If Google is your only source then you're going to struggle,” says Dr. John Bickford an early education professor at Eastern Illinois University.

Educators say technology is changing how they teach, and how students learn.

"Google is a search engine and it's very limited,” added Dr. Bickford. “It also provides a wonderful world of opportunities. I mean it's like Pandora’s Box you can find just about anything on there."

"I've told teachers all along, with technology if you are giving a test that they can Google all the answers to why give that test.” says Ken Hatcher Principal at Warrensburg Lathem High School.  “We want them testing the how and why so kids are applying the things they learn in class."

Dr. John Bickford says it’s important teachers show students the proper way to use Google.

"I teach future teachers how to examine the source not just the information, but also the source of information," added Dr. Bickford.

 Some students admit they use Google more then they should.

"I'm always like well Google it if you don't know the answer," says Katie Wiseman an education student at Eastern Illinois University.

However, some claim they only use the search engine for frivolous answers, and any time they have a question regarding class work for their future profession, they ask their professors.

"It's usually just like little odds and ends questions that I will have that I would go to Google for the like the definition of a word I've never heard."-

Educators say if students are Googling answers then they aren't doing their job.

"In a way, it's a red flag maybe there is something you could do better to hook or engage the student,” added Dr. Bickford.

While some students like getting the answers with the click of a button, teachers say that Google shouldn't replace libraries as a resource.

"Instead of having to go through 500 websites there is probably three books in the library that you can go through and find the information that you need,” says Wendy Maa Technology Coach at Kenwood Elementary in Champaign.  

Kenwood Elementary school teaches children not only how to scrutinize the sources they use for projects, but also how to code websites and be producers of what they see online as well.

 "I think I am an advocate for Google,” added Wendy. “I think it's the way that we teach it and how we are going to teach our kids to use it.  Also, not just consume it but how are we going to be a part of producing what we see.”

"Think of your information as Venn Diagram if you have two or three sources where do they all converge where do they diverge,” added Dr. Bickford. Don't read to comprehend, scrutinize your source.”

Educators say it’s their job to continue developing how they teach students, as technology continues to improve.

"How are we going to ask questions better, how are we going to find out what our kids know the right way and that they're not just googling it, and are we teaching them how the process works, the problem solving behind it how the collaborating works behind it,” added Wendy.

So, the next time you "Google something" don't just read the answer, make sure to check out the source.

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