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The University of Google: Education in a (post) information age

Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007
ISBN: 075467097X

The University of Google

An extract can be read here

Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Google is a brand name that has transformed into a verb for web searching. The word has also entered popular culture. But an absence in this narrative of commercial success is the impact of Google on education. Googling signals simple and intuitive surfing, rather than planned researching, and quick answers to difficult questions. The costs and consequences of students entering this digital shopping mall for research, scholarship and interpretation require attention.

The University of Google: education in a (post) information age is the result of a desire to start the computer and activate the hard drive, while returning the sensitive keypad of education. Attention is placed on literacy, popular culture, information management and the knowledge economy. The goal is to find a way to revalue reading, writing and thinking to demonstrate not only social, but economic and political, benefits. Put another way, this book brings the researching back to searching.

The assumptions of a 'mass' higher education system are probed through this project. The rapid increase in student numbers, not only in the post-1945 period but particularly in the last twenty years, poses challenges for universities operating within restrictive administrative parameters and dense dependencies on governmental policy and corporate sponsorship.

The push to managerialism means that many more men in shiny polyester suits — arbitrarily given 'vanity' titles like Professor on the basis of position not scholarship — pace around university campuses. Not surprisingly, words like diversity and flexibility weave through their footsteps. Transferable skills, strategic plans, cross-sector synergies and generic competencies bounce along for the ride. By living (in the) Post — postmodern, postindustrial, postcolonial and postfordist — new, critical and reflexive spaces are created to build a postinformation society, one that can take the first unsteady steps to knowledge and wisdom.

This book investigates the struggles, problems and responsibilities of learning, teaching and working in the contemporary education system. The aim is not only critique, but to offer productive, concrete and positive alternatives and solutions to the difficulties punctuating our classrooms and curricula.

Google is a brand name that has transformed into a verb for web searching. The word has also entered popular culture. But an absence in this narrative of commercial success is the impact of Google on education. Googling signals simple and intuitive surfing, rather than planned researching, and quick answers to difficult questions. The costs and consequences of students entering this digital shopping mall for research, scholarship and interpretation require attention.

The University of Google: education in a (post) information age is the result of a desire to start the computer and activate the hard drive, while returning the sensitive keypad of education. Attention is placed on literacy, popular culture, information management and the knowledge economy. The goal is to find a way to revalue reading, writing and thinking to demonstrate not only social, but economic and political, benefits. Put another way, this book brings the researching back to searching.

Frank Webster stated that this book "will have a huge impact on everyone in higher education, helping those suspicious of new media to formulate their criticisms and those eager to adopt it better placed to introduce it appropriately." Alan Jenkins confirmed that it is "a passionate, scholarly, deeply considered and, at the same time, 'practical' critique of how universities internationally confuse access to digital information with developing educated and critical citizens. The book will be of value in positively shaping both pedagogic practice and institutional policies."

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