Teachers should emphasize digital and traditional literacy to help students acquire enough knowledge on a subject to know whether an online source is reliable, journalist Annie Murphy Paul writes in this blog post. Paul cites a recent Pew Research Center survey of middle- and high-school teachers who say students expect to find information quickly because of search engines like Google and don’t dig deeply enough.Paul offers three tips to improve students’ research skills, such as requiring students to read nonfiction books.

Has the Internet changed the way students conduct research?

Yes, and not always for the better, reports to a study released last week by the Pew Research Center, “How Teens Do Research in the Digital World.” According to a survey of more than 2,000 middle and high school teachers, “research” for today’s students means “Googling,” and as a result, doing research “has shifted from a relatively slow process of intellectual curiosity and discovery to a fast-paced, short-term exercise aimed at locating just enough information to complete an assignment.”

While teachers in the survey acknowledge the benefits of the web for students—great depth and breadth of information, material presented in engaging multimedia formats, and the opportunity to become self-directed and self-reliant researchers—many of them express concern that easily-distracted students with short attention spans are not developing the skills required to do deep, original research.

From the report: “Some 77% of advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers surveyed say that the internet and digital search tools have had a ‘mostly positive’ impacton their students’ research work. At the same time, 76% of teachers surveyed ‘strongly agree’ with the assertion that internet search engines have conditioned students to expect to be able to find information quickly and easily.”

Here are a few ways teachers, parents and others can help students go beyond Google.

 Continue Reading: KQED.org/Mind/Shift blog

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