The world at your fingertips

Iíve never been particularly computer or tech-savvy despite my generationís proclivity to everything mobile and online. Even the Internet has remained a veritable wonderland of information that I have never been able to fully unlock.

However, since beginning my job at The Evening Sun I have had the opportunity, and the need, to hop on board the information superhighway and learn a few things about online research.

For one, having dozens of news sources at your fingertips is amazing. Print sources can only fit so much information into its limited pages and I certainly donít know anywhere around here that sells the Chicago Tribune.

Furthermore, I have become so tired of trying to get information from the television in any reasonable amount of time. Local news channels focus on brief sound bites of information with no way of providing in-depth details.

Channels such as CNN and FOX are horrible when it comes to relaying relevant information. Any station where Lindsay Lohanís latest stint in rehab gets as much, if not more coverage than the two wars the United States is involved in, I want nothing to do with.

Even less biased news stations such as MSNBC only provide information that they believe will entice the viewers as opposed to the most important stories. Itís not always the case, but Iím never for receiving information that a business believes is most relevant.

With the Internet I have the chance to visit news sites with articles from every angle. The same story is represented by numerous individuals and theyíre all at my fingertips. I can visit 10 different sites until I feel I have the most comprehensive viewpoint.

Most importantly is the amount of research I can accomplish in such a short time. As anyone who has read my blogs most likely knows, I am an avid outdoorsman and an Eagle Scout. Recently, a friend of mine, and fellow Boy Scout, introduced me to the Virginia Tech website which includes an entire dendrology database.

What is dendrology? The quickest way to explain is the database helps users identify types of plant by appearance, scent, texture etc. All you have to do is answer a series of questions narrowing down the exact type of plant and its region.

Are the leaves broad or skinny? Are they long or short? How are they attached to the plant itself? And so on and so forth until the exact name is determined. For a boy scout, or anyone interested in the outdoors or plantlife, this is an invaluable research tool.

The Internet is an incredible thing, and I realize this is not news to most people, but I would like to stress the importance of discovering its true education purposes and ways to incorporate them into other learning environments such as clubs and extra-curriculars.

Hopefully, most kids these days wonít wait until theyíre 23 to figure it out.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunjulian.

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