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From the desk of Dr. Charles Murphy

Today’s students have incredible array of educational resources at their fingertips. The information technology available on computers, tablets and smart phones provides this generation of students an extraordinary level of support with all of their school endeavors. 

In truth, it was only a few short decades ago where you were on the “cutting edge” if your family was fortunate enough to have their own encyclopedia set. Sure, parents had to take out a second mortgage, but with this, students could research on a variety of topics using this multi-volume tool.  

Although my parents were not willing to invest in a full set of encyclopedias, my mother did scoop up multiple first volume–letter “A” editions while grocery shopping. Some may recall that supermarkets during the 1960s and 70s sold sets of encyclopedias and often enticed their customers by selling the first volume – “A” editions for pennies. This great bargain opened my world to incredible “A” topics – astronauts, archeology, the Americas, Surprisingly, I was somewhat adept at utilizing “Volume A” editions for my elementary level work. My reports on US States - Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, and Arkansas...Reports on Presidents - John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Chester Arthur...Animal Studies - Alligator, Antelope, and Ants. Unfortunately the “A” books had their limitations. These resources were not particularly helpful with my planet reports even when I tried searching under “Astronomy”.   

I can only imagine how well I could have done in elementary school if I had access to volumes B-Z. Today’s students, however, have access to infinite sources of on-line information. Their greatest challenge is paring down their research to a reasonable number of ideas. With these hi-tech tools, this generation of children has so much at their disposal. We do, however, need to remind students that even with these vast resources, they still need to put forth the time and energy to harness the awesome tools they possess.