Today in TOK we discussed crap detection. This is an interesting topic, for in the age we live in today the amount of knowledge which is easy to get one’s hands on are almost limitless. This being said, one needs to be able to pick and choose which sources to believe in order to not be misguided into believing the wrong things, and this is where crap detection comes in. By understanding this topic, it can allow one to literally detect the crap out there in the world and attempt to find the non-crap.

To start off, I viewed a video created by Howard Rheingold who talked about the literacy. For starters, it really interested my how he referred to crap detection as a skill. Since when I think of skill, I think of a thing which must be improved over time, I thought this was a very interesting way to get his message across. Furthermore, I thought it was interesting that he brought up that perhaps instead of just detecting the crap out there, perhaps we should focus more on detecting the good stuff. We need to search for credibility.

Then, in class we were given a list of websites where we could actually put our new learned skills to the test. One of the links which I liked the most was one where I needed to spot the fake scientific studies. It really put into light how convincing fake websites and studies could be. Even employing my newly learned skills, I only chose the right study 66% of the time. It really interested me how real the fake articles seemed, and how hard it was to tell the real from the fake. Even using the citation, it was still hard to decipher for each source supposedly came from a university. It really has made me rethink how I view websites and has allowed me to realize that I need to take more care into selecting my sources.

Furthermore, we watched 3 Frontline videos which talked about how children now are losing their abilities. With the technology available, basic skills such as long division and writing are disappearing. We are getting so engrossed in our technology that we do not get up and pick up a book anymore. With screens becoming an integral part of our lives, many students spend less than 1 hour per week studying for classes. This was very surprising for me, who has never gotten into social media. I did not understand the extent of how engrossed people can get with the internet, and this put it into a great light. As I have always taken my studies seriously, I did not know the extent to which the internet was affecting others. Lastly, an expert talked about studying the brain which reading versus researching on Google. He found that more parts of our brain functioned while on Google than while reading. This was very interesting, for he talked about how while on the internet, one must make constant decisions. However, he said that more lighting up of the brain does not necessarily mean better, it just meant that more parts of the brain were used while searching on Google.

Finally, in class we took a web literacy quiz which we had to write down random internet facts. Do you know what I knew? I knew that .org stood for education and .edu stood for education. Yes, I am over-exaggerating a little. But it truly surprised me how much I did not know. As a person who uses the internet on a regular basis, it sort of scared me how much I do not know about the tool I use constantly. I feel more people need to become educated about how the internet is used in order to create a more knowledgeable populace.

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