You'd think that with all their Googling to find the Spark Notes of the novels they didn't read, today's students would understand how the search engine works. Wrong: They are completely clueless!
In a detailed study of 30 college students by anthropologists at Illinois Wesleyan, only seven were able to do a "reasonably well-executed search." According to Inside Higher Ed:
They were basically clueless about the logic underlying how the search engine organizes and displays its results. Consequently, the students did not know how to build a search that would return good sources. (For instance, limiting a search to news articles, or querying specific databases such as Google Book Search or Google Scholar.)
Duke and Asher said they were surprised by "the extent to which students appeared to lack even some of the most basic information literacy skills that we assumed they would have mastered in high school." Even students who were high achievers in high school suffered from these deficiencies, Asher told Inside Higher Ed in an interview.
This backs up earlier research that showed an insane number of so-called "digital natives" were as lost on the internet as their old-fogy parents. Seems like the only thing kids understand how to do with the internet is upload racy pictures of themselves to Facebook and nothing else.
As much as it might upset old teachers who grew up doing their trigonometry on abacuses and tracking down a fact about FDR by calling him up and asking him, we're going to have to start teaching kids how to Google properly. Otherwise, Chinese students will be expertly Googling their way to America's help-wanted boards and taking all our jobs.
Here's an idea: Let's get Chuck "The SEO Rapper" to film "Schoolhouse Rock"-style instructional videos.