Everybody knows how to use Google to find information--right? Wrong, according to Motoko Rich's article, "Academic Skills on Web Are Tied to Income Level," New York Times, Sept. 24, 2014, at A23. A new study done by Donald J. Leu that appears in the current issue of Reading Research Quarterly (subscription required) showed "a general lack of online literacy among all students..." Students may be adept at certain tasks (texting, posting photographs, using social media), but they are far less adept at tasks that require them to find and evaluate information. This finding cuts across all income groups, but is most apparent in low-income students.
Despite the higher rates of academic Internet use among the more affluent students in the study, a little more than a quarter of them performed well on tasks where they were required to discern the reliability of facts on a particular web page. Only 16 percent of the lower-income students performed well on those tasks.