November 27, 2014 20:40 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 North Korea Warns of Punishment for US, Allies

    North Korea said it would punish countries that supported a UN resolution condemning North Korea's human rights record. The recent U.N. committee vote called on the Security Council to send North Korea to the International Criminal Court for suspected violations, including torture and murder. More

  • A Libyan military soldier fires his weapon during clashes with Islamic extremist militias in Benghazi, Libya, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Government troops entered central Benghazi Wednesday after nearly 10 days of fighting Islamic extremist militias, a mili

    Audio Unrest, Abuse Prevent Solution in Libya

    Amnesty International is condemning all sides in Libya for human rights abuses and violations of international law. The rights group is calling on militia commanders to end the abuses. But that call is unlikely to have much of an effect on the commanders, who have never been punished. More

  • New members of the Afghan National Army attend their graduation ceremony at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 23, 2014.

    Audio US Says Military Operations in Afghanistan Remain the Same

    Also in the news, India-Pakistan tensions remain at a major South Asia conference in Kathmandu, Nepal; Hong Kong police arrest student leaders and clear streets around Mong Kok; The Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) of Colombia frees two soldiers to restart peace talks with the government. More

  • Video Thanksgiving, a Traditional American Holiday

    Thanksgiving is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. The month of November comes in autumn, the main season for harvesting crops. Thanksgiving is an autumn harvest festival like those found in many cultures. It is viewed as the most traditional of all American holidays. More

  • A flock of 30-pound tom turkeys mill around in the barn at  Raymond's Turkey Farm in Methuen, Mass.,Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006. The 60-acre farm expects to sell about 9,000 turkeys this holiday season.(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Audio Turkey: A Case of Mistaken Identity

    Many think the bird comes from the nation of Turkey. But turkey is not from Turkey. In fact, the fact that the turkey bird is called by that name is one big mistake. Find out in today's Words and Their Stories. More

Featured Stories

  • Battle of Cold Harbor

    Audio Strong Defense at Cold Harbor Gives Lee His Last Major Victory

    After Northern forces defeated Southern troops at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Vicksburg, Mississippi, General Ulysses Grant decided to hit the Confederates with the full force of the Union armies. The fight did not go as he expected. But General Grant was resolved to defeat the Confederates. More

  • Alzheimer brain

    Audio East Meets West to Treat Alzheimer's Patients

    But researchers in California say a new way of treating Alzheimer’s disease is showing promise for reversing some of that memory loss. The new treatment combines western medicine with eastern philosophy – ideas rooted in Asian religions. More

  • Mr. Van Rijsselberghe worked on the project with scientists from the Free University of Amsterdam.

    Video Dutch Experiment Grows Vegetables in Sea Water

    Due to rising sea level, farmers are increasingly unable to use fields close to the sea. A farmer in the Netherlands is growing small, but healthy and tasty crops in a mixture of fresh and salt water. Farmers in Pakistan may soon be growing Dutch potatoes in areas affected by rising sea waters. More

  • Jonathan Evans Performs with Bonerama

    Video With Bonerama, Three Trombones Lead the Big Parade

    The New Orleans-based group brings together funk, rock, blues and jazz, creating a gumbo for the ears. Bonerama has horns like many bands. But, unlike most groups, the trombone players lead this band. Reporter Jonathan Evans performed with the band and wrote about it for American Mosaic. More

  • A line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is displayed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

    Audio Lincoln's Words at Gettysburg Still Have Meaning

    On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said no one would remember his speech at a battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. But Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address remains one of the most important speeches in U.S. history. | The Making of a Nation More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs