One thing I have observed is how often people haven't much idea how to use a manual or text book. They seem to think that if they pick one up and randomly flick back and forth, an answer will magically jump out of the book for them. As for looking at the index or (just as useful) the table of contents, how fuddy-duddy. Perhaps one of the fundamental subjects that should be taught on computer science courses is "How to use a manual" so that students become a bit more self-reliant with more than one tool for finding things out at their disposal. Whether this is due to the onward march of the 'net, I don't know; I do know that most of my daughters' homework assignments involve going to Google, not the bookcase.
Much useful information can come via Google and the like but you often have to sort the wheat from an awful lot of chaff and sometimes the information is superficial or just plain wrong. That is not to say that there aren't some really excellent pages out there. There is nothing wrong with asking if you are not sure; in a live environment it is much better than diving in and breaking something. However, time pressures permitting, it goes down better with those being asked if you can show that you have made an attempt beforehand to find out for yourself.
As for the much-mentioned wheel and it's re-invention, sometimes it is good to do that just for the fun of finding out how it works; that is one way you can gain a deeper understanding. Sometimes you need a better wheel. And after all, if we didn't re-invent, or at least, refine the wheel occasionally, we'd still be trundling around in Fred Flintstone's car.
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