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Search Engines and Learning






My generation is described as “the Google Generation”, meaning that we are immediately inclined to look something up when we are presented a question. The invention of the search engine changed everyone’s approach to learning, not just the younger generation. There is much less ambiguity in learning.

Ambiguity in Search Engines

I found Carr’s idea of “Ambiguity is not an opening for insight but a bug to be fixed” (Carr 173) to be very interesting. It is something I hadn’t really thought of before. When we don’t come to the answer immediately we need the instant gratification of looking it up and finding the answer. Sometimes it is much simpler to do it this way but the learning process is left out. Coming to a conclusion through working an idea out is much more beneficial.

This is why discussion classes are appealing to me. Having a group of people bringing their own ideas of a topic together to come to a conclusion together. You learn as you discuss instead of just “Googling” the answer to the question. This idea of ambiguity is crucial to the process of learning. Researching a topic benefits us much more than looking the same question up and having Google tell you the answer.

However, in the context of school a quick answer can be more helpful. When you have deadlines to meet, or multiple assignments stacked up it is easier to have Google research instead of you doing it. The notion of ambiguity while learning is connected to what we are learning about and why. Meeting deadlines is constantly looming over students. Because of this many people take the easy road. When learning for the sake of learning people are more likely to take the time and dive deep. In my experience, doing a research paper is much more grueling to me than researching a video game or a comic book.

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash


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