The Great EdTech Debate: Episode 3 – Should schools focus on teaching things that can be easily Googled?

In this weeks debate, teams discussed whether we should teach concepts that can easily be googled. In a turn of events, both teams eventually came to the same conclusion. Although there are concepts that can find the simple answer on google, it is more important for teachers to teach these concepts in a way that is meaningful for student. The main issue that occurs when students google answers is that they are only looking for the short term solution. Although there are occasions were finding the short term solutions is necessary, many of the concepts that are taught in schools are have broader meaning behind it.

To begin the debate, Lisa and Curtis discussed how there are six skills that needed to be successful. These include positivity, bravery, determination, self belief, creativity, and sheer energy. I though that this was a great way to start off the debate, because none of these skills listed can be learned through using google. Instead, these are skills that are learned through experiences. As teachers, we try to help students learn these skills as a part of the hidden curriculum.

Loti Model – The Levels of Teaching Innovation is a great way to build the six skills on how to be successful, but also demonstrates a way for how technology can be used in a classroom to enhance the learning opportunities for students. The big emphasis on this model is to

Focusing on the 4 C’s – It is important to focus on the 4 C’s (Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication and Creativity) when it comes to teaching things that can be Google, because it is important for students to have a deeper understanding for the content they are learning. We all know that the internet is full of stories and articles, some of which are fact while others are opinionated. It is important of teachers to focus on the 4 C’s because we need students to be able to understand the difference between what is fact vs. opinion. At the end of the day, we want to teach students to formulate their own opinion instead of following what others have to say.

To respond, , Daina and Jocelyn began by explaining how significant the Google platform is. Some rough statistics, there are approximately 5.6 billion google searches per day. With the use of Google, it was important that these two were able to shine a light on how reliant we as a society are on the search engine. Although there are situations where Google can be beneficial for student learning, without proper teaching students can find themselves not using the tool effectively.

The idea of learning from your mistakes can be a difficult task, but it is the only way to improve upon skills. However, I understand why students want the quick answer, and an answer that is correct. Competition these days is to the extreme, and class averages is no exception. Students get worked up with even the smallest error that they make, because it will hurt the overall average. But what is the big deal? Scholarships! Often these scholarships are rewarded to the student with the highest average. I remember hearing of a scholarship last year that was worth $10,000, and was awarded to a student who achieved the highest average by 0.1%. Imagine being the student who lost out on the scholarship because they did something wrong. When it comes to assignments, the best way to assess these are through formative assessment, where there is no pressure for students to get something wrong. If you are using assignments for summative assessment, allow for the option for students to make corrections, thus demonstrating that they are showing growth.

Critical Thinking – I agree with the statement, “if a questions can be easily googled, then the question the teachers are giving are very basic, and don’t allow for much thinking.” Similarly in the classroom, this is why it is important to ask students open ended questions. I can remember from as young as students who participate in show-and-tell activities, teachers instruct students to ask questions that have a response that ins’t answerable by just saying yes or no.

Conclusion

I often reflect back at my own teaching, and the experiences that I am dealing with. At the moment, we are still working from home and providing instruction to students virtually. When I post an assignment online, there is a great chance that a student can look to google for the answer to the problem. However, the relationship that I have with my students allows them to understand that I have specific expectations, and that finding the solution is not the overall importance.

The greatest comparison that I can make is the one of students being provide answers at the back of a a math textbook. These answers are there to help students justify if they are doing a problem correctly. However, students who use the answer key just to get the correct answer are doing so just to find the short term solution, but not to have the critical thinking as to how they got to this answer. For me, I have openly told students that I do not care about the answer to a problem. The way that I assess students knowledge is through the process they are able to show when completing a problem. By doing this, I am assessing the understanding of how to complete the problem rather than the solution itself.

As a final thought, I really appreciated the way that Lisa and Curtis concluded their video. The message at the end suggests that we need students to come up with their own opinions, rather than just regurgitating the thoughts that we have. The fact that a teacher is able to make a subject seem more interesting is something that can not be undermined.

One thought on “The Great EdTech Debate: Episode 3 – Should schools focus on teaching things that can be easily Googled?

  1. Great points Skyler! At the end of your post you talked about the idea that students should not be expected to simply regurgitate information from the teacher. This was something that stood out to me too. In fact, it’s something I see myself bringing up with parents and staff. I hear comments from parents about the “new” curriculum, or the “new” math, or “schools these days.” I’ve even run into issues with colleagues, especially more veteran colleagues, who express displeasure with “new” teaching styles. However when we frame it from the perspective of empowering children so they’re able to form their own opinions, guide their learning, and not simply be a carbon copy of their teachers (or other adults), I think more critics of the “new” way of doing things would see the positives.

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