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Will this help me learn? My story

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Morag Giblin
16 January 2013

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I work with our first year Initial Teacher Education undergraduates on a 'Foundation Skills' module which consists of all sorts of issues around starting university - personal development planning, basic ICT skills for the classroom, academic writing, VLE etc etc.  Within this we look at digital information literacy both from their perspective as learners and as prospective classroom teachers who will be charged with developing these skills in the classroom.

The aspect I find most difficult to address is their perceived expertise, they just don't know what they don't know.  There is also the perception of the majority of teachers (school and Uni) that the students are experts, certainly in comparison to them, and that basically we can just let them get on with it.

There is no doubt they are very confident and have expertise in certain areas (social networking) but their expertise lies within a very narrow area of interest. To illustrate this point, I discuss search engines and all students use google (so do I).  Ask how many use advanced search and you will find one or two. The majority don't even know what it is.


Will come back to this later.

Morag Giblin
20:08 on 16 January 2013

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Shirley Williams
8:03am 17 January 2013

This story matches our experience with Systems Engineering undergraduates (Computer Science, IT, Electronic Engineers etc). Even if they know that there is an advanced search they tend to default to basic Google and stop at the first few items.

I have a research student who did a survey with a group of these students and he thinks (but still to do the proper analysis) that those who choose not to use Google,  actually have better search techniques. (Some students are very suspicious of Google and what they do with our data)

In countries where Google is not the default search engine, students still tend to use the most popular (there is a reference for this which I will look out).

Cecilia Bernal
2:34pm 17 January 2013


I agree with you both, this relates to "digital natives vs. inmigrants" debate. We tend to think students have search skills, and as you say, they just have a look at the first items from Google search.

This make me think in what could be one of our project outcomes: make the students aware there are different types of browsers? introduce them in the concept of semantic search?

What do you think?


Shirley Williams
9:32am 18 January 2013

Cecilia - I definitely think that educating about different seach engines and semantic search is part of the solution.


I think we are supposed to look at context this week so lets start another cloud for that. Feel free to add clouds here so our project grows.

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