The last session yesterday was by Tara Brabazon, Professor of Media, at the University of Brighton - entitled Google and the Future of Thinking. I couldn't possibly do the talk justice here - a very lively talk and she kept all of us riveted (as well as slightly scared). Tara has been refered to as a digital dissenter, and used an overhead projector and acetates to deliver her talk (very effectively I might add), which rather bemused the AV technician, who like me, was suprised to find out they still existed. She caused a bit of stir in the media last year by reportedly banning her students from using Google and Wikipedia, and her inaugural lecture was entitled Google is White Bread for the Mind.
The premise of her talk was that Web 2.0 technologies, Google, blogs etc, are creating a generation of students with no real information literacy skills - they know how to find information, but not how to interpret it. She wants to put the research back into search - Google provides facts without a context. Her students have to answer questions about all of the information they use, including who authored it, what evidence is used are there citations in the piece, what genre is the document (journalism, blog, acdemic paper?), who is the intened audience? All basic questions which should be asked about any citations, but apparently not regularly by todays Google generation students.
She believes that for too long teachers have got enthused about new hardware, software and how can they use it and not what they're trying to achieve. Curriculum development has suffered, as the focus has been on process and tools not literacies and knowledge.
Her new literacy model was:
Click, pause, Think.
Not click, click, click.
Very entertaining - and heads up to the brave soul at the end who challenged some of her assertions!