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.