The Wonders of the Internet and Critical Thinking

Our unschooling lifestyle is so intimately tied to use of the Internet, I can hardly imagine life without it. I initially learned about unschooling, and continue to learn about it from the rich resources found on-line. The potential for almost immediate feedback to questions is unparalleled. Numerous times every day, we "look it up" on-line. We seek answers to questions about such varied topics as the current weather forecast, if a certain game is in stock at GameStop, how to build a half-pipe ramp, and why our cat is behaving aggressively. There is rarely a topic for which we cannot find information on-line.

This ease of obtaining information always amazes and impresses me. I love knowing that I can find out what I want to know quickly and easily. However, it is just as easy to add to the enormous amount of information on-line too. That requires us to be critical in analyzing the source(s) from which we gather this information. We need the skills that a journalist typically uses in gathering information. We need to check our sources and utilize multiple sources for verification. I just read about the best real life example that clearly illustrates the need for this diligence. Apparently, a sociology student added a quote to Wikipedia entry which was then redistributed by newspapers as accurate, before it was found in error and removed by Wikipedia. The full story is here. This is just one more example of the wealth of opportunities to learn and develop critical thinking skills from our media rich world.

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