October 02, 2014 06:23 UTC

Education

What Online Teens Consider 'Research'

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

A survey of U.S. middle and high school teachers highlights the need for digital literacy
A survey of U.S. middle and high school teachers highlights the need for digital literacy

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report in Special English.
 
Teachers say the digital age has had a good influence -- and a not-so-good influence -- on this generation of American teenagers. More than 2,000 middle and high school teachers took an online survey. Researchers also spoke with teachers in focus groups.
 
Three-quarters of the teachers said the Internet and digital search tools have had a “mostly positive” effect on their students’ research habits and skills. But 87 percent agreed that these technologies are creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans.” And 64 percent said the technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically.” Many students think "doing research” now means just doing a quick search on Google.
 
The Pew Internet Project did the survey with the College Board and the National Writing Project. A majority of the teachers came from Advanced Placement classes, which provide college-level work for high school students.
 
Judy Buchanan is deputy director of the National Writing Project and a co-author of the report. Ms. Buchanan says digital research tools are helping students learn more, and learn faster.
 
“Teachers really embrace these tools because they are ways to make some of learning exciting and engaging. Young people embrace these tools. And the goal is to really help them become creators of content, and meaningful content, and not just sort of consumers.”
 
But one problem the survey found is that many students are lacking in digital literacy. In other words, they trust too much of the information they find on the Internet. Judy Buchanan says these students have not developed the skills they need to judge the quality of online information.
 
“It’s just a lot to learn about how to discern credible sources. And it’s something that really has to be taught and paid attention to. It’s like everything else -- in a world in which things can happen quickly, you really do need to have a way to step back, reflect and analyze the information you have. And teachers can do a lot to teach that.”
 
Another problem the survey found is blamed on something that might not seem like a problem at all: being able to quickly find information online. Teachers say the result is a reduction in the desire and ability of their students to work hard to find answers. They say students are overly dependent on search engines and do not make enough use of printed books or research librarians.
 
Many teachers are also concerned that the Internet makes it easy for students to copy work done by others instead of using their own abilities.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Alex
01/25/2013 6:13 PM
“... . And the goal is to really help them become creators of content, and meaningful content, and not just sort of consumers.” The goal is good because... .


by: Alex from: Russia
01/25/2013 5:22 PM
“ And the goal is to really help them become creators of content, and meaningful content, and not just sort of consumers.” It is good an idea.


by: Rick from: Italy
01/25/2013 3:10 PM
If teachers afraid that students copy their work on internet, it means that teachers have got to change the kind of student's work, updating it to the modern life.

For example, today teachers assign to the students a search and all student can copy it on internet. Instead of it, teachers can estimate the students by not the objective of the research but the research itself.

Some students do best research and others not. The value to estimate must be the ability to gather informations better tha other and understanding it (orals test). And not only search and copy as teachers claim today because of internet.

Thanks very much VOA AMERICA


Learn with The News

  • A pro-democracy activist shouts slogans on a street near the government headquarters where protesters have made camp in Hong Kong, Oct. 1, 2014.

    Audio Protesters Call for Hong Kong Chief to Step Down

    Also at least 10 people were killed on Wednesday when shells hit a school playground and a minibus in Donetsk, Ukraine. And, U.S.-led airstrikes hit near a key Syrian border town for a second day, as Kurdish fighters defend the area from Islamic State militants. | In the News More

  • South Koreans march during a rally 100 days after the ferry Sewol sunk in Seoul, South Korea, July 24, 2014.

    Audio Ferry Investigation Divides South Korea

    South Korean lawmakers have agreed to launch a new investigation into the deadly passenger boat accident in April. But many people are not happy with the measure. Other citizens protest a second investigation. More

  • Ebola Dallas Hospital

    Audio First Ebola Case Reported in US

    An unidentified person has brought Ebola into the U.S. from Liberia. This person is being treated. Those he or she came into contact with are being closely watched. More

  • Mercedes Garcia of El Salvador fills in the application for her new ?green card? while waiting in a predawn line outside the Immigration and Naturalization Service office on Wednesday, March 20, 1996 in Los Angeles. Wednesday was the deadline to apply for

    Audio US 'Green Card' Lottery Registration Begins

    The US government’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes 50,000 visas available every year. The program is designed for people from countries that have “historically low rates of immigration to the United States.” | As It Is More

  • Carter Elections

    Photogallery Former US President Jimmy Carter Turns 90

    He won the Nobel Peace Prize and served as Georgia’s governor and as a Navy officer. Former peanut farmer, former nuclear engineer now works as a human rights activist. Liked and disliked around the world. He has written 26 books and is writing more. | As It Is More

Featured Stories

  • Children exercise during a weight-losing summer camp in Shenyang, Liaoning province, August 3, 2009. Obesity is becoming one of the biggest threats to children's health, a nationwide investigation has warned, pointing out that students' physical indicator

    Audio Physically Fit Children Do Better in School

    Several studies found that children who had physical activity on a usual basis improved in school. The children also learn best if physical activity is included during class or before. | Health Report More

  • Union and Confederates troops clashed on July 21, 1861 near Manassas Junction, Virginia.

    Audio Manassas Ends Hope for a Short War

    Many northerners wanted Union forces to seize the new Confederate capital and quickly end the rebellion. Pro-Union newspapers urged, "On to Richmond!" But the North soon learned it needed a better trained army to fight the Confederacy. More

  • Singer Lorde performs at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada May 18, 2014.    REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES  - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)  (BILLBOARDAWARDS-SHOW) - RTR3PR0U

    Audio Lorde Releases Single for 'Hunger Games' Soundtrack

    The 17-year-old New Zealander is curating the soundtrack. The album is to be released a few days before 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part One' opens November 21st. | American mosaic More

  • The US is a nation of immigrants. But China is a nation of ... Chinese.

    Audio US, China: A Look at Immigration and Migration

    The U.S. and China have the two largest economies filled with opportunities and jobs. In 2013, a Pew study found that 45 million international migrants lived in the United States. Yet only “850,000 people living in China were born in other countries.” More

  • Artist conception of ISEE-3 in space.  (ISEE-3 Reboot Project)

    Video Citizen-Scientists Take Control of Old Satellite

    Former NASA engineer helps group get information from a satellite that was launched in the 1970s and had been silent for years; giving an old satellite a new mission. | As It Is More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs