April 2, 2011
The Lost Art of Critical Thinking in a Google Age
This isn’t really related to gaming, not directly anyway but I pride myself in thinking that your gamers have a higher then normal intelligence. That being said please read on.
This came upon me the other day when I wondered how I got all of my information for a paper I was writing. How did I come to my conclusions, how did I find the information, how did I decide how to format it, etc? What defined my entire paper?
Before the advent of the modern search engine anything that you wanted to learn about you either had to ask someone, watch the local news and come to your own conclusions or go read an encyclopedia or book on the topic and then think about the information which you had just injested. With my most recent work ALL of the information that I acquired for my “Masters Level” paper was from Google. Google this Google that is the response to almost any question you present someone that they don’t have the answer to. In fact when I started my new job one of the first things they told you was “Learn 2 Google”
One of my grade school books had a section in it called “Critical Thinking” it would ask you to reason and explain some situation you had read in the text. At the time I thought it was the stupidest thing but now that I am older I completely understand what it was trying to teach. It wasn’t just asking you to regurgitate the situation as explained in the book but it wanted you to look at the situation, analyze it and then formulate your OWN opinion. Not just look up someone else’s.
I think this is mildly disturbing is how many of us can’t form opinions off of information we already have. How much base knowledge can you acquire from the world around you without having to use someone else’s already formed opinion? I’ve seen this dilemma ever apparent in the younger generation that proclaim a belief but yet you ask them why they have these beliefs they have no idea and then they find themselves googling that information to find out why and what they believe.
I’m not saying that Googling something that you don’t know is inherently bad but I think at the same time it helps to formulate your own opinions instead of just finding someone elses and taking them as your own.