Project Prospectus

Time to be straight and to the point, for once in this class.

Rationale for study: There are many debates on whether internet usage is making us “smarter” or “dumber”. I want to circumvent this whole argument and simply view the internet as a tool for research. With extensive information on any topic imaginable, there is really no excuse for people to not find SOMETHING to be interested in or passionate about. It seems like the more we get information out to the masses, the easier it will be to engage people who otherwise wouldn’t know this information existed.

Preliminary Review of Research: I have had to weed through a lot of debates on whether the internet helps or hinders education. Conclusion: inconclusive. People seem to argue for whichever side they want to be true. However, this argument doesn’t really interest me; the internet is here to stay whether it makes people less focused/connected or not. I have found that interest is very closely related to ability to learn, which seems like common sense but it is basically the backbone of my project so it was nice to have it confirmed. Students that take a particular interest in a subject will be more willing to spend time and effort on said subject. All of this is kind of veering away from the whole Wikipedia thing because…well…who does academic research about Wikipedia??

Problem Diagnosis & Potential Thesis: If class projects can be opened up to encompass a broad range of topics all following a similar theme, students might be more readily engaged in the line of education. For instance, if a teacher is trying to lecture on..let’s say the Civil War, they could let every student pick a notable person or idea involved and research heavily on that. Then every student could pick something that they have a specific interest in and teach it to the rest of the class. The horse lover could research cavalry, the food lover could research meals and living conditions, and the sadist could research torture methods and battlefield wounds and medical procedures. I just think we shouldn’t be afraid to go off the beaten path when it comes to education. If we start early we can inspire children to research any question that pops into their heads! I know that I, personally, grew up with a bored and frightened attitude towards research and I wish I were more fond of it as an adult now.

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