Does Google kill creativity?

I set a number of assignments to my students (at first and second year) in which I challenge students to think outside the box. I actively reward creativity. For example, in my first year course I challenge my students to come up ways of performing various processes on a large scale, for example, extracting sugar from sugar beet.

Increasingly I’ve found that rather than actually thinking about the problem, students just Google things like “sugar extraction beet” or similar and regurgitate what they read off a website. Of course I can fix this problem by banning smartphones but it is interesting nonetheless that the availability of massive “intelligence” in the form of Google has made it possible for our students to outsource their thinking to an algorithm. Maybe it’s a sign of things to come.

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