This week we took a deeper look at whether or not schools should teach anything that can be googled. As a class, we debated this topic, through discussion, while considering facts that, yes, had been found where else, but on the net. We weren’t just instructed to read articles online though. We made connections to our teaching practices, examined realities of the consequences of moving education in this direction, and took the time to really think about how this would impact students of different ages, demographics and abilities.
After the debates, I took some time to read the articles from both teams and came to the conclusion that I do believe that schools should teach things that can be googled. However…. I feel very strongly, that we maintain the perspective that “googling” and “internet use” remain single strategies to learning. We must also acknowledge the flaws that come with using these resources and teach students to proceed with caution. As William R. Klemm mentioned in his article, the internet is constantly flawed with error and propaganda, and is not always accessible.
The big zinger for me in this week’s debates was the apparent impact that the “Google Affect” can have on critical thinking.
When I think about my classroom full of 6 and 7 year olds, I see our learning as something messy. I see curiosity leading their learning. We ask questions, we explore, and we think critically about the information that we gather. Sometimes we take that information and we memorize things while incorporating actions into silly songs about creatures we learn about. Sometimes our room looks like a bomb went off in a Mardi Gras parade when we are done learning because there are sequences strewn over the floor and textured paper hanging from chairs and tables…. but it is learning, and we are doing it critically, using information we find in the library, through discussions, from the computer, and from using our imaginations. We use our voices, hands, minds, and bodies to inject this learning into spaces in our minds that will inevitably be remembered long past year’s end. If learning can be this way, maybe the kids in my class will remember the lessons that push far beyond learning “just enough”. (Click here for an example of the kind of lesson I am referring to). If we took out all of the learning that we “could” access through googling, I believe that there would be a real gap in our education system. We cannot promote the termination of critical thinking. I’m not sure that is something that our students can afford either.
Finally, in an article posted by Ben Johnson, he reminds us that the brain is like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger and better it gets at doing its’ job. Memory work helps students to achieve high standards in school. When memory work is done in meaningful and interesting ways, the results can be rewarding.
Let’s continue to strive for excellence in our youth by finding the right combination of educational strategies to promote the highest level of education possible for tomorrow’s future!