Remember when your kids came to you for the answers rather than the Internet ?

By    John Garner on  Friday, April 7, 2006
Summary: I came across a very funny article at MediaPost today called "Google Is Now Smarter Than Daddy" by Gord Hotchkiss and I recommend you read it. I suppose it was also funny to me because it reminded me of one or two recent events. My younger brother Adam, when I was at my dad's recently […]

I came across a very funny article at MediaPost today called "Google Is Now Smarter Than Daddy" by Gord Hotchkiss and I recommend you read it. I suppose it was also funny to me because it reminded me of one or two recent events.

My younger brother Adam, when I was at my dad's recently was talking to me while playing some game he'd just bought (blood and guns etc.). I was trying to explain to him what the aim of the web site I had just launched was, and how people could publish articles and others could comment about the article like on a blog. His response was "oh have you seen my blog" and then started showing me his blog and the pictures he'd posted of his younger sister and other pictures and content he had posted. I was pretty astonished on how easy all this seemed to him. I suppose I was comaring to my knowledge of all this at his age (Internet didn't exist ! just my Spectrum plus console).

I came across this very interesting article by Wesley Fryer about how children are interacting with technology and their expectations and what we consider to be a new relationship with information and the control they have over it. It also discusses how schools don't seem to be adapting to or taking advantage of this as well as discussing the significance for children of publishing (impact on their development and understanding of themselves). There is a lot of data, maybe speed reading to parts that may be of more interest to you will help.

This article on USA Today gives a good snapshot of what teens do and post on the Internet in their blogs. Take a look at the examples in the middle of the article in the orange box labelled Blog Excerpts !

Second fun memory, recently, I was at a friend's called Sonia and the whole town we live in was on alert because the river was getting dangerously high. The school Sonia works in was most probably going to be closed because the central heating system relies upon gas and was in the basement of the school right next to the river. The headmistress who sounds like a real battleaxe had told people to watch the local news. We had missed it and I was saying we could maybe ring someone who had watched it.
Sonia, looking pretty astonished, said "well we can watch on the Internet" and brought up the page with the local news from earlier on in the evening in streamed format. Followed by a "How come you didn't know you can do that ?". I started laughing and said I hadn't realised that they had starting providing that service...
I know that we often look to Google to find new things but locally I just find that so much could be done to let people know about new interesting things that are happening.

To come back to the Hotchkiss article I also feel that it is true, learning lessons for me wasn't always easy and when I see younger people interacting with technology nowadays I wonder if they have an attention deficit problem. I met a guy recently about my age who told me he actually had an attention deficit problem and up until then I had started to think this guy is a complete self-centred idiot (frankly afterwards to but this is off subject and most probably had nothing to do with the attention deficit).

I am often asked, sorry, I am very often asked by friends to fix problems with their computers. I decided recently to stop doing this when the problems come from their kids installing stuff from all over the net on the computers and then just complain to their parents when the computer keeps crashing. One response I got when asking whether it might be an idea to get the children (teenagers) to sit in and learn how to re-install Windows was "they're not interested, you'll see when you have kids". And what is that teaching kids, not that I consider to be wiser in bringing up kids ?!

Like Hotchkiss I also feel that searching for information was also a path that lead me to other interesting reads before finding what I wanted and was part of the learning process. I felt that I got better at finding information though this very process...

I often discuss the differences between England and France's education systems. I find that the French education system is far too much about learning a text by heart and then being tested on what was in the text. In England at university I was taught theories by my professors and we were asked to read books to further these theories. Then expanding on this knowledge in exams in order to apply what had been learnt to new situations and this was challenging. I suppose I feel that the Internet can be the easy way out too often, that there is no challenge. This doesn't always help people learn things in a better way. But I'm sure that some company has realised this and is already working on something...

Article written by  John Garner

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2 comments on “Remember when your kids came to you for the answers rather than the Internet ?”

  1. Very interesting article 'Google - Daddy'. As a teacher I couldn't agree more with these articles. We need to realise that children of today's generation have fantastic potential, as children have always had, and as parents we don't always recognise this nor do we encourage this potential in the appropriate way. This is often because we are unaware of how they are learning. Generations change their methods according to what is available and in today's technological revolution this is where children go. As teachers we should use these modern tools to help our students. Just as we teach them how to read, we should now teach them how to surf the web effectively (although some seem to do a very good job and teach US how to do this) Teaching is not a one way process so this is surely an excellent way to have real interaction with both your children and your students.
    As usual I have become absorbed in the subject, my screen, the Internet and unfortuately I must go back to the mundane jobs of everyday life. Parents beware - surfing the web is so absorbing for children there is no time left for your children to tidy their bedrooms - and of course that is so BORING.

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