Friday, April 4, 2008

High School Papers and the Internet.

It is much more complicated to be a teen today than it was even 15 years ago. When I was their age, the Internet was barely a blip on the teen culture radar. I remember using a modem and Prodigy at a friend's house to look at sports statistics, but I didn't realize at the time that I was using the Internet. I knew I could look at encyclopedias on CD-ROMs but, using an encyclopedia to do research was frowned upon once you got to a certain grade level.

Nowadays, teachers generally seem happy to have the kids use anything but the Internet. When I started in this field a couple of years ago, I think there was some confusion with what the teachers were telling their students and what the students were hearing. I remember showing all of our great database resources to students struggling to find books and journals for their papers. The students were convinced that they couldn't use the Internet whatsoever, because their teachers had told them not to use the Internet. I would try to explain that their teachers probably meant that they didn't want them to google their topic or use Wikipedia as a source, and that the databases are completely different from those things.

More recently the students all seem to know about the databases I think the message is getting out now. I have found that I am having to explain the differences between the databases and unfettered Internet less and less. The teachers are doing a good job making this distinction clearer to their students.

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