June 30, 2015 10:00 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

  • Audio China to Prepare Private Ships for Military Use

    China is forcing private shipbuilders to build civilian vessels that can be used by the military during times of conflict. Experts say the new “dual-purpose” ships will strengthen China’s efforts to claim territory in disputed areas of the East and South China Seas. More

  • Video Motorcycle Lovers: We Are Not Criminals

    But police say some motorcycle gang members are violent lawbreakers. Some gangs say they have been operating for many years and have never been charged with crimes. “It is no different than a ladies tennis club,” they say. | As It Is More

  • Audio Study Explores Air Pollution’s Deadly, Preventable Effects

    A new report says cleaning up dirty air could prevent up to 2.1 million premature deaths every year. Most of those deaths are said to be in Asian countries. The report notes that many people also are dying at an early age in countries with cleaner skies. Read on to learn about “particulate matter." More

  • U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman (L-3rd L) meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2nd R) at a hotel in Vienna, Austria, June 28, 2015.

    Audio Time Limit for Agreement Expected to Pass in Iran Nuclear Talks

    There will likely not be an agreement with Iran to limit its nuclear activities by June 30. Also, banks and money machines close in Greece; Asia Infrastructure Bank is officially established; US rocket going to International Space Station explodes; and second escaped NY prisoner is found, shot. More

  • Video Nigerian Immigrant Lives the American Dream

    Lookman Afolayan Mashood came to the United States in 1996 and is now a U.S. citizen. About five years ago, he and his girlfriend, Natalie Goldberg, opened their own restaurant in Brooklyn. He says the American dream is still alive. And he says “there’s no food compared to Nigerian food.” More

Featured Stories

  • Video Robots Ready to Work in Restaurants

    For many years, machines have been doing work that people once did, including some difficult jobs. Search and rescue operations employ high technology robots. But there is another area that may soon take jobs traditionally held by human beings: the restaurant industry. More

  • Audio More American Fathers Stay Home to Raise Kids

    More and more fathers in the United States are trading in the traditional role of breadwinner -- the person earning money -- for the role of stay-at-home dad. Meet two fathers who have been on this road for the past decade. You can also learn some great words such as "clique" and "masculinity." More

  • Audio Don't Be Caught With Your Pants Down

    Are you too big for your boots? Do you often fly by the seat of your pants? Learn what these clothing expressions mean and so many others. You may be excited to get started but keep your shirt on! Be patient. All you have to do is click on this episode of Words and Their Stories. More

  • Video Everyday Grammar: Words Come and Go in English

    Part of the reason that English has grown as a world language is that it adjusts easily to change. Why do some words and phrases stay the same while others change? VOA guest editor David Sullivan shares his ideas on the changes he has seen in today's English. More

  • Video 'Jurassic World' Sells $1 Billion Worth of Tickets

    The movie continues the series that began in the 1990s. It already is the second most popular movie of 2015. Critics praise the new film as exciting. A group of paleontologists praised the film as well. But they said they found the science behind the dinosaur story to be weak. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs