From an avid googler…

Recently, while perusing Google, I came across a mother’s 18-point rulebook for the iPhone she gave her teenage son.  Her rules emphasize continuing to live in the present despite having an iPhone, and while I largely agree with her, the end of rule 17 caught my eye.  She advises her son to “Wonder without googling.” While I understand her point, I can’t imagine my life without googling my wonderings.  Am I wondering the wrong way?  Am I a slave to the instant knowledge I can find on my iPhone?

I happen to think that we should wonder AND google.  There’s something incredibly fulfilling about exploring our own curiosity for no other reason than to explore.  I read an article last night about Beyonce singing the National Anthem at the Presidential Inauguration. When I googled “Beyonce National Anthem” so I could watch her performance, I also got results for Whitney Houston singing the National Anthem at the 1991 Superbowl. By the time I got through with my simple search on Beyonce, I knew how many people watched the 1991 Superbowl, read Whitney Houston’s entire Wikipedia page, and read a commentary on the start of the Gulf War.  Was this hard-hitting research?  No.  Was it important research? Not really.  None of it relates directly to my livelihood or will earn me more money.  I learned for no other reason than I wanted to.

Google may not be the best place to do in-depth, original research.  It’s certainly not the only place to find answers.  Not everything we find on Google is true, and not everything can be found on Google.  But for the random questions and curious thoughts that cross my mind in my daily life, Google has provided the opportunity to explore, learn, question, and discover on a whim, sometimes on topics I never even set out to discover.  I, for one, will continue to google what I wonder.

Google put together a website and video about the top searches of 2012.  Watch the video. It’s amazing what we can learn about ourselves and the world just by looking at what we searched for, both trivial and serious.  It tells us what interests us, inspires us, and what’s important to us.  I wish I could see a video that showed us what our students search for everyday.  I imagine it would amaze us.

Learner, Thinker, Writer: Ashley Johnston teaches Fifth Grade social studies and language arts at Trinity School.

4 thoughts on “From an avid googler…

  1. Your thoughts seem spot on to me. Now that google and other search engines are available, I can’t imagine not using them. Back in the dark ages, I used to take down volumes if the encyclopedia from the bookshelf. Search engines are just a different bookshelf for me!

  2. Maryellen Berry

    Ashley, instant access is our normal. Our ability to be curious – wondering – and to do something with that curiosity makes Google part of our everyday experience. I understand what that mom was getting at. . . let you mind wander, unplug and take advantage of your own thoughts. None of these are bad ideas. Yet the power to let one’s mind wander, to wonder, and then to access knowledge remains powerful. I wonder if this post comes up when I google your name?!

  3. […] nearly as easy as anticipated.  I played around unsuccessfully for a few minutes and then recalled Ashley’s post from earlier in the week.  Yep, I googled […]

  4. I agree with Ginny– it would be awfully hard not to google now that we have this instant access to information. I can’t imagine not using such a powerful tool! I do it every day. But I do understand where this mom was coming from. Sometimes it would be nice if our constantly-connected students could just be kids who wonder and dream without using an iPad, iPod, Kindle, smartphone, etc.

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