Thursday, May 13, 2010

Learning Styles and Using Google

There's a joke making its rounds on email lately, "Living without a Cell Phone". It's all about how hard our childhood's been compared to that of our children. One of the points it makes is the ease with which today's school children can access information online, whereas anybody over 30 still remembers having to go to the library and look it up in the card catalogue, request the book, wait two weeks, fetch the book....

It sounds like Generation Y and Z is living in Utopia and they "don't know how good they've got it". However, a recent study by Otago University (New Zealand) reveals a somewhat different picture. Although school children in developed countries today have easy access to the Internet and they know how to load up Google, what they don't know is how to squeeze information out of it.

Their failure to conduct online research (even when the topic was well-defined, such as, find out how the kiwi bird got its name) is attributed to a number of reasons:
  • mistyping
  • inability to phrase the search properly
  • inability to filter out relevant hits
  • incomprehension of what they're reading.
All valid theories, of course. Nevertheless, Creative Learning would like to add another hypothesis to the mix: that of the children's learning style.

To use a computer effectively, a child should have certain learning style strengths, such as visual (words), visual (external), tactile, working well alone. In addition, to perform a meaningful Google search, a child needs a balance of analytic and holistic processing skills, the ability to sit still and the ability to work in an unstructured way.

Can your child cope with finding relevant information online? To determine your child's learning style, start here.

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