April 2, 2011

The Lost Art of Critical Thinking in a Google Age

This isn’t really related to gaming, not directly anyway but I pride myself in thinking that your gamers have a higher then normal intelligence.  That being said please read on. 

This came upon me the other day when I wondered how I got all of my information for a paper I was writing. How did I come to my conclusions, how did I find the information, how did I decide how to format it, etc? What defined my entire paper?

 Before the advent of the modern search engine anything that you wanted to learn about you either had to ask someone, watch the local news and come to your own conclusions or go read an encyclopedia or book on the topic and then think about the information which you had just injested. With my most recent work ALL of the information that I acquired for my “Masters Level” paper was from Google. Google this Google that is the response to almost any question you present someone that they don’t have the answer to. In fact when I started my new job one of the first things they told you was “Learn 2 Google”

 One of my grade school books had a section in it called “Critical Thinking” it would ask you to reason and explain some situation you had read in the text. At the time I thought it was the stupidest thing but now that I am older I completely understand what it was trying to teach. It wasn’t just asking you to regurgitate the situation as explained in the book but it wanted you to look at the situation, analyze it and then formulate your OWN opinion. Not just look up someone else’s.

 I think this is mildly disturbing is how many of us can’t form opinions off of information we already have. How much base knowledge can you acquire from the world around you without having to use someone else’s already formed opinion? I’ve seen this dilemma ever apparent in the younger generation that proclaim a belief but yet you ask them why they have these beliefs they have no idea and then they find themselves googling that information to find out why and what they believe.

 I’m not saying that Googling something that you don’t know is inherently bad but I think at the same time it helps to formulate your own opinions instead of just finding someone elses and taking them as your own.

9 comments

  1. ScrotusKilmystr - April 9, 2011 2:27 pm

    I won’t deny that there are good resources of information on the internet it just seems that the most popular ones have a sort of “Tabloid Value” and shouldn’t really be held as gospel most sites get hits just because the happen to pay a search engine to make sure the show at the top of a query….

    I do agree our education system is severly lacking I think thats why I never could grasp Calculus in college becasue My proff never would explain WHY a formula had a constant in it and what made it constant…. If I understand the why then I get how to do the how….

    Reply
  2. CharcoalCoyote - April 7, 2011 8:32 am

    I mean, I’m an expert at memorization and regurgitation. I’m also really good at writing essays. And I’m pretty good at using background knowledge (say, in mathematics) to figure out a new problem. What really burns me the hell up is when teachers that are entirely incompetent are teaching higher level courses. If there’s something I don’t understand, and I need to get this for my honors credit, I need help. If I can’t get it from my teacher, where else do I get it in this ghetto ass town?

    Reply
  3. thsoundman - April 6, 2011 8:06 pm

    Standardized testing does not prove intelligent. Yes it does show that you do know how to memorize and memorization is important and knowing the “facts” is important as well. But the most important part of school which is sadly the most overlooked is how you understand the materail. I think all testing should be essay. It should be essay because it truly shows that you understand a subject. In school i failed multiple choice tests constantly but all tests that had open ended questions that actually required intelligent answers I passed with flying colors. One class i took was 80% essay and I passed with an easy A while many of the other “A” students were failing because they couldn’t get the eassy questions. Just goes to prove understand the material is the way to go not just memorizing it.

    Reply
  4. zero_19 - April 6, 2011 2:01 pm

    CC….you are very right that our schools are a complete failure. All the standardized testing does not prove intelligence, it proves only that those that score well can regurgitate information on command.

    Are they inherently smarter? Maybe, but does that mean they can actually think? Not neccesarily.

    The ability to think was lost the day that “standardized tests” were adopted.

    Reply
  5. CharcoalCoyote - April 6, 2011 8:30 am

    I don’t totally blame the internet, although it has definitely changed the way we think. We’ve been regurgitating the same crap we’ve “learned” even before the internet was prevalent. I blame the school systems in America. The history classes are composed almost entirely of multiple choice tests, so the viewpoint we get is that of the writer of the history book. I got in a number of enormous arguments with my teacher in my civics and economics class, citing various works outside the school textbook. We’re teaching the kids what to think, not how to think. I have an entire volume I could write on “things I think we should do to the school system”, but I’d have to sit down and really think on it.

    Reply
  6. Adam - April 4, 2011 4:58 pm

    I’m glad you pridge yourself, most people aren’t able to pridge themselves at all, and when they get caught pridging themselves, it’s often quite embarrassing.

    Reply
  7. ScrotusKilmystr - April 4, 2011 1:23 am

    this is true the birth of the digital age has meant the death of the library where we use to do most of our research which gave people a better basis to make an informed decision ie critical thoughts and decisions now we google a wiki and simply re-gurgitate some one else’s take on the information we desire

    I think the movie Idiocracy is slowly becoming a reality now…..

    Reply
  8. thsoundman - April 3, 2011 11:20 am

    I think it’s sadly apparent in the Christian realm which I reside. There are so many people who profess the Christian faith yet when they are asked why they believe what they believe they have no idea. They just regurgitate what they heard from someone else. They don’t really have any idea as to why they believe what they believe or how people came to believe what they believe. It’s like their almost mindless drones.

    Reply
  9. zero_19 - April 3, 2011 7:56 am

    I agree, this ability is sadly lost on more than just our generation.

    I think the worst part is, some people have lost the ability to think critically and also can’t use google….

    Reply

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