This talk from Alan November got me thinking further to a post that I wrote called: Avoiding “Just Google it!” with your students. One of the points in Alan’s talk refers to the need to explicitly teach web literacy skills to students in schools. Upon reflection, I too am short of some techniques in terms of using search engines more effectively when conducting research and it would benefit me in learning these skills in order to better teach students.
I imagine that I am not alone in lacking the necessary skills to both search and use information from the Web. So, perhaps, Alan was being a bit to kind in his talk in not wanting to offend us educators. As many presenters and workshop leaders often do, they make assumptions that we know exactly what they are talking about, when in fact we may not. This got me thinking further to a recent tweet from Elena Aguilar:
There is a degree of truth to this in that a number of strategies that we wish to see teachers implement with students in our schools are not avoided because teachers are lazy, or they do not simply have the time. It is, perhaps, more the case that some of our teachers need more coaching and support in exactly what students need from them in order to be successful in undertaking the tasks required of them. Not all PD is pathetic but some of it can be if we are ignoring the skills our teachers have, more importantly the skills they do not have, and then ask them to go out and perform wonders with students.
Alan poses a question in his TEDx talk that we should ask students: “Do you know how to use Google?” Of greater importance, the same question should be asked of teachers. This may well explain why I am now completing the free self-paced course on power searching with Google. As teaching today has become more complex than ever, you cannot have teacher accountability without support. If teachers are that important, then we must invest in them and differentiate the learning accordingly.