How Does Google Affect the Way Students Learn?

7th July 2021

In the age of information, Google and certain other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Baidu, etc. have become a very significant part of our lives. Today, the average number of Google searches per day has full-fledged from 9,800 in 1998 to over 4.7 trillion. The internet has become a part of modern teaching methods and a go-to place to find out anything and everything.

“Google it” - this phrase has literally become the hope for answers to every complex question. Nowadays, knowledge has become searchable, especially when the formative years are being spent working through apps, iPads, smartphones, YouTube, etc. Additionally, its behaviours can shape not just how people access information, but how they theorize it completely.

On top of it, we all are well aware of the COVID-19 pandemic that has entirely changed the way of the teaching-learning process. The sudden shift of digital or online or virtual education changed the teaching professionals along with the learners as well.

How has Google changed the way we think in past few years?

A recent study out of Columbia University, argues that as a substitute for working to recollect and recall information, we simply Google it now. Specialists call this transactive memory, where people recall where to go to get the info, not the information itself.  However, this process has been around for ages, yet, various search engines have made it a whole lot easier. In simple words, instead of going to our known persons for information, we turn to the web.

Nevertheless, while it was nearly dreadful to come up with responses to questions without consulting a book in the past, search engines such as Google are the favoured go-to places in the period of smartphones. But does Google actually support the learning process? We are trying to understand this in this write-up.

In this day and age, with the arrival of several personal assistants like Siri, they aim to provide information before you even type the questions. Just say the words and you'll have your answer in just a few seconds.

Google naturally recommends ‘answers’

When learners are searching for an ‘answer,’ it comes naturally with the algorithm of Google. It tries to provide answers to what they are looking for, also students are left with the back button, or a fresh browser tab if they don’t get their proper information. Google “scrolls” a website to regulate its content, edifice along with the link profile, from there it determines the relevance for any given search term.

Google produces the impression of availability

We all know that Google is authoritative. The use of an intricate algorithm that tries to guide human thought processes has been digitally apparent. Well, that’s exactly what it does! Also, because of Google, social media users can view information through that same kind of substructure. As an outcome of all these things, it creates the impression that answers are always within your reach even when they’re not!

Matter of information surplus

Over the past twenty years, the number of search requests amplified extremely in Google. However, this also leads to one more budding problem: too much information out there. So, how to determine which answer is considerable and which one is not? Learners are facing this issue with the time and they have to deal with an overload of material when they attempt to find answers to their questions online. Eventually, this information overload and long-term memory loss increase the risk that Google and Co. have an adverse influence on the mind.

Google Search Per Day

Google - Confidence Supporter or Distractor?

This area is a debatable one. In its place of searching the answer for every possible question online, without questioning the subject matter, students need to re-progress the skill of critical thinking. Though, some observational training doubts that the prompt obtainability of information has a positive effect on apprentices’ learning development.

While some researchers conclude that people have already learned to rely on Google rather than on their own memory when it comes to safeguarding enduring knowledge. On the other hand, other academics undertake that the fact to be able to access the information wherever public like has a bad influence on their enthusiasm to memorize any information.

More room to contemplate or less time to think?

This is also another subject matter of various viewpoints. Unfortunately, there is a comparative lack of existing research examining the result of search engines on our brains. Of the studies presented, the answers are sometimes uncertain. Some claim that with easy access to data, individuals, as well as students, got more space in their brains to engross themselves in creative activities.

On the other hand, in a 2008 study specially made by the British Library, found that young people go through information online very rapidly deprived of evaluating it for accurateness. It’s like not remembering someone close’s birthday as you know you may find it on Facebook. When we see that we can access this information each and every time we need it, we are not inspired to remember it.

Students are Always on a computer

Nowadays, most of the learners are always on their computers or laptops. This is a similar case in terms of adults as well. People don't read books as much as earlier they used to do. Gary Small, the director of the University of California Los Angeles' Longevity Center says, the Internet searching is like a brain exercise that can be good for our mental health. However, he also added a problem for younger people in this perspective, the overdoing or misusing of the technology that leads to disturbance.

Accessibility prospects

Coming into distance learning or online education, the internet has saved the teaching-learning practice. Google Meet and Zoom, both have benefits for all schoolchildren. Also, these tools are supporting students with various special educational needs. Access to technology is an even-handed matter.

Of course, it is an undeniable fact that the Internet not only makes education more available, but it also boosts apprentices to take action in their education by encouraging more independence. Generally, the concern level of the students is often high which reduces the aptitude to think critically, study, assimilate, and obviously, ability to remember the information educated in class. As Google has numerous special features to help everyone to find exactly what they are looking for, it has immensely become a part of our lives.

Information retrieval (IR)

The various kinds of search engines arbitrate the conceptual framework of learners. Information retrieval (IR) research has been exploring to provide an organic account of “human–information interaction”. The human-computer communication community is growing and search engines aid to recover digital info characterized in a varied range of set-ups like text, audio, video, data, and simulations, etc.

We are living in a new information atmosphere. Now, handlers are no longer just reading or printing information. In its place, they are engaged in more complex developments like swotting, choosing, linking, downloading, installing, interpreting, reading, and saving in a citation catalogue. Nevertheless, with time, more and more people and students have expressed their awareness of the Privacy of Web searches.

How students learn in general?

By understanding this, you will get an awareness of how the whole thing is co-related with each other. Certain regulations direct the learning procedure of students. These apply to any scholar at any grade and in any subject range.

Structure of knowledge

Usually, students learn by relating knowledge to different concepts that they already recognize. You will see this most efficiently in numerous active social classrooms where they exchange understanding through communication in addition to diverse approaches. Teachers may help learners absorb to shape conceptual contexts that are intensely organized, transferable, and entrenched in a solid memory.

Different laws of learning

Here are the laws of the learning process:

  • Law of willingness
  • Law of easing
  • Law of effect
  • Law of association
  • Law of involvement
  • Law of exercise
  • Law of concentration
  • Law of significance
  • Law of challenge
  • Law of feedback
  • Law of recency
  • Law of expectations
  • Law of emotions
  • Law of variances

We all know that students learn in different ways and one size does not fit all. Students learn more easily when they have a yearning to learn. They usually learn best and remember longest when they are comfortable. They also learn effectively when they take an active part in what is to be educated.

Remember, an intense, exhilarating, fervent, enjoyable learning experience is more probable to be recollected than an uninteresting, cold one.

Metacognition in a classroom

This is the development of "thinking about thinking," or reflecting on individual habits, knowledge, and methods to education. Generally, in higher education, it is cherished for the conduct it motivates learners with self-regulation of their learning. This also enables the conveyance of skills and content through reflection as well as abstract understanding.

Various dimensions of learning

Learning and teaching happen across five basic extents:

Learning and teaching happen across five basic extents

Teaching and learning, both arise in dynamic situations. In these settings, educators, schoolchildren, resources, schoolbooks, technologies, and social constructions are all connected and collaborating in nature. These five elements cannot be treated separately; in their place, they are dynamically intertwined. Learners learn best when these five extents are addressed and incorporated properly into every teaching/learning practice.

Classroom behaviours

Here are some proposed classroom behaviours and practices:

  • Practice a variety of ways to engage students.
  • Deliver suitable feedback.
  • Build a relationship with each student in the class.
  • Practice positive classroom behaviour.
  • Start and transfer classroom rules.
  • Offer equal opportunities for apprentices to work together in accommodating groups.
  • Teach students to practice positive self-talk.

Implementing knowledge implicitly

Students learn best when they want knowledge to achieve a goal, they contemplate significance. There are different kinds of thinking processes that can be used to boost schoolchildren to use knowledge implicitly. Decision-making, Problem-solving, Invention, Experimental review, Study, and Systems analysis are the crucial kinds of thinking processes.

Apart from these, there are many other approaches through which students learn, however, these are the fundamental ones!

The role of Google in education

Apart from being a search engine, Google plays a very crucial role in education at present. Google for education is an open technological development that billions of schools and apprentices are using. This educational version of Google has also transformed the education setting a lot. With the use of a variety of different Google apps for education, schoolchildren, as well as teachers, have been keeping, organizing, collaborating, and sharing their knowledge with security features.

In almost all schools in today’s world, instructors and students may implement the most effective technologies powered by Google for their precise requirements and needs. Here are some productive Google apps for education -

  1. Google classroom – It allows educators to unify academic tasks and assignments quickly.
  2. Google docs - Google docs deliver a secure place to store, organize and access academic assignments, documents, etc. from any corner of the world.
  3. Google calendar - Learners always need this feature to stay prearranged regarding their assignments, test dates, deadlines, and other academic doings.
  4. Google sites - Google sites could be a great app to keep all your schoolchildren updated about numerous academic events, actions, and education news.
  5. Google drive – Here anyone can store vital documents, assignments, and notes over the cloud and can access all uploaded materials easily from anywhere by using a Google account.
  6. Gmail - Scholars, teachers, and school administration, and everyone can make use of Gmail to send and obtain academic communications, alerts, and updates in form of E-mails.

Wrapping Up

Indeed, with time, the requirements of teachers, educational leaders, and students evolved a lot and therefore teacher training courses are preparing 21st-century teaching professionals accordingly. Nevertheless, with more technological developments, institutions also need more powerful security tools to expand the teaching and learning practice. Therefore, Google keeps building new hands-on solutions for educational purposes by understanding closely educators and students and their requirements.

Written By: Bindita Sinha      

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In academic collaboration with:

Pebble Hills University  London School Of Teaching and Training City College Birmingham Cambridge English AAHEA AAHEA TQ