Why History Isn’t Googlable

So apparently a lot of American students are awful at history. Susan Orlean writes:

Being able to reel off a list of dates in history, while useful, is so much less important than understanding why those dates matter, or understanding enough about the way civilization has developed to be able to figure things out from what you already know. … When a machine can do something better and faster than a person can, I am happy to let the machine do it. (Why tie your shoes when you can use Velcro? Why add a long list of numbers when a calculator can do it faster and more reliably?) But understanding who we are and how we came to be the way we are? That’s not Googlable now, and I hope it never will be.

If I want to find something, Google. If I want to understand a concept, Wikipedia. If I just need the definition of a word, Answers.com. But all these engines in and of themselves (or even together) are merely tools, and do not equal an analytical or critical mind. That is something that has to be learned and practised.



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