What Google and Facebook Are Hiding And Its Implications On Education

I came across this short TED Talk yesterday.  The premise is that Google and Facebook are now tailoring your internet experience by learning what you like and the types of links you follow and then only showing you more of the same.

There is a great screen shot of two identical search queries resulting in two very different search results.

My two favourite bits are found at:

2:15 – how Google personally tailors your results at 2:55 they show you the screen shots

3:40 “The internet is showing us a world we want to see not what we need to see”

So what are the implications on education?

Watch the video and I will give my thoughts below.

Here are a couple of implications:

  1. If we tell our students to search for a certain topic or principle they might not all get the same answer.  This could be a problem if you want each of your students to have access to the same content.
  2. Our students are not being exposed to the wealth of information available but potentially only one perspective.  Similarly they potentially will not have access to all the information for or against an argument, thus limiting their world view.
  3. One of my passions is producing well rounded students who are able to read and discern the material in front of them.  This just took on a whole new meaning.  Now they will need to ask themselves is this the total picture?

One a positive side, if we are aware of this as teachers we can be talking the students about the issues that this can present not just in school but also in the ‘real world’.

Is it something to be overly concerned about? I’m not sure. It is something that I will be aware of and monitor in the future.

What are your thoughts?

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