In a recent Times Online article, Tara Brabazon, a professor at the University of Brighton, calls Google “white bread for the mind.”  Brabazon “believes that easy access to information has dulled students’ sense of curiosity and is stifling debate. She claims that many undergraduates arrive at university unable to discriminate between anecdotal and unsubstantiated material posted on the internet.”  Brabazon also states, “We need to teach our students the interpretative skills first before we teach them the technological skills. Students must be trained to be dynamic and critical thinkers rather than drifting to the first site returned through Google.”  Brabazon’s students are banned from using Wikipedia or Google for research in their Freshman year. 

Magnus Linklater, a columnist for The Times, provides a counter argument in a Times Online article, accusing Brabazon of snobbery as he states “Curiosity, it seems, can only be stimulated by trawling library shelves or by shelling out substantial amounts of money.”

Who’s argument do you agree with?  Please post your comments and let us know what you think. 

2 thoughts on “Google – White Bread for the Mind?

  1. It is interesting how easily accessible information is nowadays. With Google, it may be a temptation to say that information is cheapened, but I do not believe this. Yes, information is more readily available and searchable, but one still has to use reasoning skills and put forth effort in order to get the information that the person is in search of.

  2. I agree with Matthew that Google and Wikipedia are useful tools. Not only that, but the sites are responding to criticism and misuse with improved features. Library instruction has responded with needed emphasis on evaluating web sites and even creating tutorials which show students how to get the most out of both resources.

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