Wikipedia Blackout Afterthoughts

Through all the protest around SOPA, one tweet prompted thoughts about the overarching role of technology:

Jonathan Lamy, RIAA Exec, on Wikipedia

The motivation behind this statement reflects a systemic misunderstanding of the Internet’s role in our dramatically changing society. It seems to me that it is either a refusal to adapt or an ignorance of the need. The academic exercise this tweet describes has, in some respects, become irrelevant. The skill to find information about a well researched topic becomes more and more trivial as Wikipedia and Google’s search index grow.

If the task Lamy thinks we’re not teaching students is original research, then have them contribute to one of the thousands of stub articles on Wikipedia. Or have them improve an existing article that lacks bibliographic support. To simply cut off modern tools from students to deliver the same education their parents got will only prepare them for the world their parents inherited, not the ones they will. Because in most practical situations, these tools will be available, to teach research skills independent of them is meaningless. As with fields beyond education, the solution is clear—embrace technology and retool or stifle those you serve with your ignorance—not something people tolerate for long.