We’re only two weeks away from 2010 ending. The end of a decade begins and a new one is soon to unfold. It never ceases to amaze me how quick people, places, and things can change in just two years ago. A simple example would be my parents’ comments on my college friends. We had a FAT Christmas party yesterday at my house, and the first thing they notice about my mates for three to five years? “They’re bigger. Why are they so large?” Yes, we’ve eaten more fat, carbohydrates, and protein, and along with it grew our group and friendship. An awesome feat indeed.
But one thing that grows faster than we can comprehend? Technology. We may not have hoverboards, but in terms of communication and information dissemination, the speed of sending and getting things know is much faster and simpler. The unfortunate downside to quick information and easy access? Laziness.
Every time I talk to a teacher, I always hear stories of blatant plagiarism. Gone is the concept of forming original sentences or rephrasing several sources to make a research paper. We now have CTRL C and CTRL V. Students seem to think teachers won’t Google their sentences, but they do. And so many instances of laziness show up as results.
I can only imagine what it’s like to talk a young student today in high school or college. Have they ever held a hard copy encyclopedia? Have they ever read more than two paragraphs of a textbook? I don’t mean to generalize, but I have worked with young students. Whenever I open up their books, they give me a face and say their notes are shorter or that they can grab the power point online.
Fast information and quick publication has its advantages, but there has to be a way for students to learn patience from actual research. I’m proud to have known and experienced the hours spent reading encyclopedias, rushing through the card catalog back in high school to get a paper done, or simply sitting down and finding the right piece of information. I learned patience and eventually discovered the wonderful AHA! moment, along with that feeling of accomplishing something after hours or days of stitching together pieces of information.
Has patience become such a foreign concept to today’s instant generation? Is there anyway for us to take advantage of the search button, but still teach students that a masterpiece–an A+ or a high school diploma– comes with using your own brain and not the computer’s easy commands?