The latest in the "the Internet is ruining kids today" genre:
Google is "white bread for the mind", and the internet is producing a generation of students who survive on a diet of unreliable information, a professor of media studies will claim this week….
Her own students are banned from using Wikipedia or Google as research tools in their first year of study, but instead are provided with 200 extracts from peer-reviewed printed texts at the beginning of the year, supplemented by printed extracts from eight to nine texts for individual pieces of work.
Peer-reviewed papers (on paper!) have a place, of course. And in an educational environment, they probably even deserve a privileged place. But if Google is the white bread of the mind, then pass the peanut butter and jelly. Googling myself and others makes me hungry, and I suspect the 18-year-olds in this prof's classes won't really be giving up their white bread diet, either.
Professor Brabazon's concerns echo the author Andrew Keen's criticisms of online amateurism. In his book The Cult of the Amateur, Keen says: "To-day's media is shattering the world into a billion personalised truths, each seemingly equally valid and worthwhile."
We here at reason just love and respect Andrew Keen, of course.