Originality matters when digital children write and learn, but many 21st Century students have considerable difficulty understanding what the idea of original content really means.
Check out How the Internet Affects PlagiarismatKQED Mindshift, a blog post that describes how plagiarism is evolving in today’s digital world. According to the article, students today do less looking for “unoriginal content” at sites that sell papers or other pre-written documents (compared to the past), and they use lots more content from the almost unlimited digital resources that are available on the Internet.
When I was in what we used to call junior high, working on my first bona-fide school research projects, mired down with things to read, and wishing to be finished, my father reminded me over and over again, “… you cannot attribute too much, only too little.” Even now, years later, with only a few words written on a page, I start thinking about Dad’s attribution credo.
Every parent of digital kids needs to share Dad’s strategy whenever children are working on school projects and papers. It is way too easy, in this age of Google, Wikipedia, and easy instant access to digitized scholarly articles, to write about another person’s ideas without giving credit.