Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Stunning Cluelessness of Homeschoolers

The title of this post was taken from a google search that led someone to my blog. Doesn't it grab your attention? I love it because it gives such latitude for speculation. For example, is the person who typed it in aware that google searches for words rather than concepts? So, unless someone posted something along the lines of "Gosh, I, a homeschooler, just did something stunningly clueless," or unless someone else compiled anecdotes or data on the subject, it's rather a pointless search. (Digression: Dinner table discussion last night was on the idea that "the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'", which phrase should preferably be delivered in a scathing tone of voice.)

So, you know, I find myself contemplating The Stunning Cluelessness of People Using Google.

It also takes me back to the years I spent helping out at the reference desk at a university library, trying to explain how to search the computerized card catalog. No matter how explicitly we explained that the typed search was going to take the exact string of letters typed in and attempt to match it to the same exact string of letters in the cataloged information (that is, the title, the Library of Congress subject headings, perhaps a brief description), there were plenty of students who just Did Not Get It. They thought if they typed in "learning" they should get books that had the word "education" in the title, because, hey, it's sort of the same idea. Yeah, like a small public university library in the early 90s suddenly came up with a computer system that used fuzzy logic. These were usually Elementary Ed majors (hence the example of "learning" and "education"). I had a theory that they chose to major in El Ed because they hoped small children would be stupider than they were. I also have a (more optimistic) theory that most of them did not get jobs in their chosen field. I've no idea if either of these theories are correct. So, file all of that under The Stunning Cluelessness of Many Elementary Ed Majors at a Certain University.

But perhaps it was entered by a youngish teenager. It really does sound like something Thalia would type in just because she could. It definitely sounds like something she would say. So it might have been typed by someone who just wanted the thrill of typing in that phrase, someone not worried about the viability of the search.

Which reminds me, we got Annabeth's ITBS scores back. Her lowest score was in Reference Materials -- things like using the library card catalog, searching for information, etc. She only scored as well as an 8th grader on those questions. I'm not too worried about that. I mean, she's just finished 5th grade, and I'm not too sure the ITBS really tests one's conceptual understanding of how to gather information. I wonder how our Stunning Cluelessness (Stunningly Clueless?) googler would've scored on that section of the test.

For the record, most of the searches leading to my blog have to do with Girl Scout badges. Most often people are looking for information on how to earn the badges, but occasionally someone is searching for information on all the badges being discontinued. If you came here on that sort of search, they ARE all being discontinued, by the way. But I'm not surprised you did random google searches rather than using the GSUSA website, since it's a mess (google The Stunning Cluelessness of GS for further information).Which reminds me of yet another thing, that today I came up with a really cool idea on how GSUSA should've been running their website and badge program -- assuming they were actually interested in having girls and leaders join and stay with the program, and not just interested in selling more books and junk. But that's another story.

By the way, the Stunning Cluelessness search led to a post about Thalia's theatre class putting on Clue. And we're homeschoolers. And I overuse the word "stunning", particularly in tandem with comments about Swarovsky crystals, which is an Irish Dance joke. So it all adds up to our family being the go-to people regarding The Stunning Cluelessness of Homeschoolers.

1 comment:

Bridgett said...

This may be the highlight, the stunning highlight, of my day.

And as an elem ed major, I must agree. Many of my fellow elem ed folks were so so clueless. But in the field, the most clueless ones I found were people who thought they'd try their hand at elementary education after a long career at college adjunct professorship....