Searching for Critical Thinking

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We have all used the web for searching and getting information. It may be true to say that many people would relate knowledge they have acquired from the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia. A quick search on any title on the net gets you to this site. Of course, many of the articles on Wikipedia are edited by volunteers being anyone who has access to the site so are we to believe it completely? Wikipedia is quick and easy and gives you an answer but has anyone really got down to the bottom of their query or really thought that there is no need to do more searches because Wikipedia is the best? We have to be careful because the internet is filled with old material, false material, and vast amounts of nonsense. In this essay the objective is to try and show the reader by way of highlighting search methods that the user can actually get to a quality website which answers their question on a more scholarly level. Also the purpose of these searches is to help the reader critically think about how to use the internet to their advantage and not to take the first website as the complete answer.

To begin with, using the Google search engine and using the Thai version or moving to the English version can get you general results. Of course, you really want authentic information and material that has clarity and by writing a general search topic like Thai education you can find yourself looking at the top of the internet search page the name Wikipedia. An easy option could be to use the ‘Google Scholars’ function that would give you related articles but concentrating on this general search there are always some .com pages, pages, and also HTML files. A quick look at an HTML file might give you what you need but by scanning the text down you must see when it was last modified. In normal situations there are many old pages on any Google search. Modified searches of the original topic can be done by adding some inverted commas to a search ‘Thai education’. This gives a more detailed search but can still produce Wikipedia as your first page to look at. The obvious reason for this normally is the use of a detailed sentence or combination of words for your search so ‘Thai education’ can be expanded to ‘the future of Thai education‘. Now with this search, the internet page will be missing Wikipedia and websites that are not generally found appear. One such page is DPU University in Thailand, a quick click on to this page will lead you to articles such as ‘research of the future: research on scenarios of Thai education in the next 20 years’. This is clearly more along the lines of critical information regarding Thai education. Of course, educational websites are used on the web, and by using edu with a search moves you on to an educational institution. So, for example, a Google search of ‘site:edu future of thai education’ can give your initial search a more defined look. Stanford University is one such website which may well appear. This gives you essays such as on ‘middle path for the future of Thailand’ by Miss Sippanondpha. A more academic paper because it looks at cultural change but any person should be wary as with the internet one has to look further as this paper was published in 1990. Fresh information is not always easy to find so again the search engine must be used. A site search using site:edu ‘the future of thai education in 2010’ may well give you the ‘United Nation University’ which many might not have heard of before. For anyone interested in education they have seminars, books, and pages that are highlighting a better education for Thailand and Asia. Once there, you can use their United Nations search engine on their website for Thai education. Now at this point in time, it can be said that through the searches and changing of the search topic you can be looking at a quality website that has valuable information.

Another search anyone can do on the internet is to use ‘Google directory’. Once on the directory, a search with the title Thai education brings you onto the next page with various pages to see. If you were to press the news button in the row of words at the top, you will get the latest news for Thai education. Here there is valuable up-to-date news from September to 15 hours ago. One related article from the Global edition of ‘The Chronicle’ has a story regarding ‘In Thailand, Grand Plans for Higher Education’ By Newley Purnell. Already this is interesting information. This is dated September 13th 2010. A click back to the original search on the directory will also get you to the website for the ‘Office of National Education Commission’. A click here on publication and it has a list of essays, one being ‘teacher development for quality learning’. This is a good piece of writing but again you should be wary because this was from 2002 so it was a bit outdated. The Google directory brings up some interesting pages.  Going back to the original directory page there is also the scholar function again another button located above the search window. This gets you onto ‘Google Scholar Beta’. A search for articles will bring up relevant pages on Thai education which have been cited many times. The only problem here for someone thinking about education in schools is that you start getting pages on educating people in Thailand opposed to Thai education and the pages go back as far as 1996. If one is to use this page you must go back to applying the correct search words or sentence which directly links to the page you want. This can be laborious. Also, a callous press of one of the directory buttons highlighting ‘legal opinions and journals leads to American education and off the path regarding Thai education.  Without you confusing yourself with untold searches using a varying amount of different words, a click on blogs, still with the Thai education topic, brings you to publications as recent as 1 day ago. In an ever-changing world, there has to be a bonus to get up to date material. One such article gets to the point of the searches for information on Thai education with its title ‘Thailand Education’ Reform Hinges on Thai Teacher Training’ dated September 4th 2010 from the PRlog website. Once again with a little searching, you can find quality material.

To conclude this paper, two methods have been used, those being ‘Google search engine’ and ‘Google directory’. Within the Google search engine, it was found that if you want specific information you have to have your search sentence or words specific. It actually seems a bit ridiculous that someone would spend hours trying to find material of quality only because they kept their search words to a minimum. Within the Google directory search, there seemed to be more material to choose from and also more up-to-date. From these quick searches using the internet, it would seem that the Google directory produced more material of quality. Again this is fine if the right buttons are pressed. It is hoped that the reader of this paper has acknowledged that internet searches can be vague and there is a lot more to the internet than meets the eye. Finally from this paper, one would hope that any internet search does not take any internet page at face value and critically thinks about what page they are looking at.   


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