Transformations - butterflies and research
Once upon a time, students used a variety of books when tackling a research project. Those days are long gone. You cannot even say that books are playing second fiddle to the internet as a research tool. Books are not even in the orchestra, they are more of an afterthought. Google, a company that has been around for only fifteen years, very often is thought of as a verb. How do I know? I Googled it, of course!
How does this resonate in the educational community? The reaction is mixed, not surprisingly, according to an online and focus group study conducted last year by the Pew Research Center along with the College Board and the National Writing Project. The 2,000+ educators who were surveyed teach middle school or high school. Focus groups were conducted both online and offline.
Some of the more interesting findings include:
Recognizing that there is a challenge is a great first step in enabling the future workforce to become more critical thinkers. Schools and public libraries have taken the lead in reinventing themselves to reflect the digital age. The volume of information has grown exponentially. Libraries focus just as much on their electronic tools as their book collections. School systems have embraced the new technologies, as we recently saw when Los Angeles announced that it was initially purchasing 35,000 iPads for its schools, with a goal of providing all 640,000 students with iPads by the end of 2014. For those of us who love research, it bodes well if the quantity and quality of information move in the same direction. Understanding the challenge undoubtedly helps get us to the right solutions.
NYC coming into view along Route 3 in NJ.
It's hard to believe that those omnipresent little programs called apps have been around for only five years. Just this week, Apple celebrated the fifth anniversary of this society-changing product. The impetus for this phenomenal growth has been the success of smartphones and tablets. Led by the iPhone and iPad, it is no longer necessary to carry around a cumbersome laptop. On July 10, 2008, Apple started the App Store with 500 of these tiny programs. Five years later, there are over 900,000 apps available. The early success of apps for the iPhone was accelerated with the launch of the iPad in 2010. When we think of the personal computer (PC), we typically have a laptop or desktop machine in mind. In many ways, the mobile devices are the truly personal computers. The traditional PC's might have a few dozen programs on it. A typical mobile user may very well have hundreds of apps. Each iPhone and iPad is customized to the end-user's preferences. Surfing the web, reading e-mail, and talking with others are just the tip of the iceberg.
Blog Author - Ken Felsher
With over 25 years of writing, editing, and research experience. I enjoy sharing with my readers my love of working with content on a variety of subjects.
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