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Plan 3 – Opening the debate on knowledge

Stakeholders in education must get involved in the debate.

Every student faced with a theoretical assignment begins by typing the issue they are studying into Google and, in doing so, submits to the law of Wikipedia. Students who have not developed their critical thinking skills are not equipped to distinguish reliable and valid pieces of information and good sources.

The documentation provided by the Internet is free and immediately available. The information does not take physical form. It is immaterial, virtual and not constrained by supply (as was first the case with music online and then films).

Students are autodidacts in an intellectual environment that is not consistent. They can often learn as much in two hours spent per day on the Internet as in a day spent in the library. The nature of the knowledge might not be the same, but who can tell which will prove to be the more formative?

No one can claim to be able to verify a type of learning that is such a patchwork of personalized knowledge.

Suggestions

• Creating knowledge: Make the link between the immaterial nature of knowledge and the real world. Must students create knowledge or demonstrate acquired skills?

• Evaluation: Remind them that it is not the weight of the paper or the number of pages turned in that is being evaluated, but the knowledge that they show they have acquired.

• Self-verification: Students can use keyword searches based on concepts studied in class to find additional explanations on the Internet. The variation in the explanations is always surprising.

• Validity and accuracy of information: Encourage students to think critically with respect to the different sources on the Internet. Teach them how to distinguish “fake news” from real knowledge.