Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Google & Fact or Fiction with Chris Betcher

When I wrote my post for the morning Skype session with Clarence I had a Word document open with about a page of notes to refer to. As I scrolled down to look at my notes on Chris's Skype session all I found was "Chris Betcher – Google Search Syntax/Truth & Bias Online" and the rest of the page was empty. Then I smiled remembering that most of the time that Chris was talking I was - Trying to figure out if spaghetti really does grow on trees, if it's possible to turn cats into Bonsai ornaments, and if Napoleon could have fired a cannon. I was busy doing what he was trying to tell us about. It made the time fly by and supported what I already know about myself - that more learning and understanding goes on when I'm actively engaged - which I believe is true for most people. Chris showed me that there are quicker ways to find what I want the first time on Google (especially if I feel lucky) and how important it is to teach children to look at what they find on the internet with a critical eye. Now on to the topic of Wikipedia. Now that I have seen someone navigate through a topic (and doing it myself) I understand how a Wikipedia page grows and develops from as little as one sentence and how the facts can be found among some of the fiction that may exist. I was definitely not a fan of using Wikipedia as a source of information but I can now see that it is truly a collaborative network where information and expertise can be shared by anybody and everybody even if it's only a few words at a time. I guess I can now let my son use Wikipedia when looking for information as long as it isn't his only stop on his search, thanks to Chris & Rob.

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