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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Education today is easier than ‘before Google’

  • Our set of black, red and gold Collier's Encyclopedia volumes sat on the top of our piano, poised to solve the problems of the world a half century ago.
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  • Our set of black, red and gold Collier's Encyclopedia volumes sat on the top of our piano, poised to solve the problems of the world a half century ago.
    At least they were ready for any questions our family needed to ask them. And since my parents had four children within 13 years, there were plenty of critical last-minute homework issues that had to be addressed.
    What's the major export of Uganda?" one of us might ask my mother while she was making dinner.
    And she offered the answer that all parents give when they either have no clue or want to train their children in proper research technique.
    "Look it up."
    So, if the query was posed by me, I'd shuffle off toward the piano, my shoulders sort of slumped in the manner of a distraught young scholar who actually has to read something, instead of just shouting out the questions while he's watching TV.
    "Youganda, wait no, Uganda," I'd think, before there was a "WHAM!"
    "Nothing, Mom, I just dropped the ‘U' book ..."
    Modern Conveniences
    This was all in an era I call BG -- Before Google.
    I just looked up the major export of Uganda by "Googling" it, and I got the correct answer -- everything is correct on the Internet, right? --  in two computer clicks. It took me about seven seconds, but that's only because I had to take time to first type in "Uganda exports." Click. Click.
    Coffee.
    Education these days is so easy. This is the sort of thing that allows students today to get 4.6 grade-point averages on a 4-point scale.
    I'm being facetious, of course, which is a word I had to check the spelling of at Merriam-Webster Online. Nine seconds. And I came up with the kind of answers for its definition that I wanted to hear, too. "Joking or jesting" and "meant to be humorous or funny."
    It appears that this writing gig is a piece of cake with today's technology, too.
    We're Spoiled
    Personally, I don't know what we did before we could look things up at websites.
    Did we drive to a video store and rent the movie every time we were talking to a friend about a film and suddenly we could remember neither the name of the female lead in the film nor the actress who played her? And what was the name of that movie? It was one of our favorites.
    "The Legend of Bagger Vance." Adele Invergordon. Charlize Theron. It took me less than half a minute when I typed in "Will Smith golf movie." I could have been a second or two faster because I probably didn't even need the "movie" part.
    Page 2 of 2 - I spent a few seconds and reminded myself that the narrator Jack Lemmon played in the movie was the "old Hardy Greaves." This is the miracle of Google. In my student days, if I was trying to pad a report about "My Favorite Movies," that's the kind of information that could have boosted my grade by at least a letter.

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