Why teach anything that can be googled? Though this may seem like a bizarre question to consider as a teacherit makes you think about what would be left to actually teach then? But once we actually sit down and really dig into this question and begin consider all angles of this question it really is a good and deep one!
These debates, I feel are a great way to allow teachers to look at their current teaching practices and begin to challenge themselves to really consider if they are in fact using practices that are in the best interest of our current students and the skills they need for their future. With technology helping advance our world at a rapid rate we as teachers really need to begin looking at our teaching practices to ensure that they are keeping up with these changes and meeting students needs with current and best practices.
Below is our introduction to this debate. We agree that schools should not teach anything that can be googled.
Knowledge Is Becoming Obsolete
Pavon Arora in his Ted X video Knowledge is Obsolete, So Now What makes the argument that we are living in a world where knowledge is becoming obsolete and the value of knowledge continues to decline. We know that knowledge is changing faster than ever before. All knowledge now has an expiration date and we need to find ways to stay at the top of the knowledge food chain. In traditional schooling, memorization has often been mistaken for learning. In today’s world, there is no more need to memorize facts as they change so often. Not only does knowledge change so quickly but students often forget memorized facts as they memorize them to regurgitate them for an exam and promptly forget them after.
Arora shares that human knowledge now doubles every 1-2 years. This has increased significantly over the last hundred years. With knowledge doubling every 1-2 years, it is crucial for teachers to consider how they are keeping up with this change in knowledge. Every 1-2 years the facts that they have been focusing on in their curriculum are likely already out of date. Teachers and the ministry need to begin considering how we as educators of the future generations can adapt our curriculum and teaching practices to meet these changes.
Teachers also need to begin to consider how access to technology changes the way in which we approach teaching today’s generation and the way we approach knowledge. Today with smartphones and the internet most everyone has immediate access to human knowledge at any time in any place. With this access, it really changes the way in which students need to learn. No longer is memorization of all facts necessary as students have access to a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips.
Photo Credit: Teaching The Google Generation
How Are We Preparing Students for Knowledge Change?
We understand that knowledge is changing in our world and with this, we need to ensure that we are preparing our students for this change. As teachers, we need to look at our teaching practices and understand what changes we need to make to make the shift in our teaching to ensure that we are making room for the competencies that our students will need in order to be successful in the 21st century.
Joe Ruhl in video Teaching Methods for Inspiring Students of the Future shares his thoughts on ways that teachers can inspire students of the 21st century. This allows teachers to really begin to reflect on their teaching practices and begin to consider if we are providing our students with the essential skills that they will need to be successful in their futures. This most definitely requires teachers to consider a shift from the traditional teacher-centered classroom towards a student-centered classroom. Traditional education focuses more on the idea of teaching rather than learning. Instead, we need to move towards allowing students to explore learning on their own agenda.
Teachers need to begin moving towards allowing students time to foster the skills that they will need in order to be successful in their professional lives in this generation. We need to make room in our teaching practices for students to have a choice, collaborate, communicate, foster their critical thinking skills and be creative. This framework allows students to engage in topics they are interested in allowing authentic learning to happen. As teachers, we need to consider what skills employers will value in the 21st century to ensure that we are setting our students up for success.
Choice allows students to choose the topics that they want to learn about. This allows students to create meaningful knowledge as they are able to choose where they want their learning to go rather than told by the teacher where their learning needs to go.
Communication allows students to share their thoughts, ideas questions, and solutions. Technology allows them to communicate their understanding in many different ways.
Collaboration allows students to work together to reach a common goal. Technology allows students to collaborate much differently than in the past. Technology allows for collaboration in areas that before were not possible.
Critical thinking allows students to look at problems in multiple ways across all subject areas. Technology allows students to move away from memorizing facts and allows them to dig deeper into learning reaching areas of learning that are much more in-depth and complex.
Creativity allows students to try new ways of learning and completing assignments. It allows them to be innovative and allows them to use technology to create new ways of learning and showing their learning.
Photo Credit: The 4Cs of the 21st Century Skills
” the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting” -Plutarch
Moving away from traditional ways of teaching we must move away from teaching students what they need to learn towards teaching students how to learn. Traditionally teachers lecture to students at the front of the classroom and then expect them to regurgitate those memorized facts back to them on a test. With the change in technology and skills needed to be successful in the 21st century this way of teaching is no longer effective. Instead, we need to provide our students with meaningful learning opportunities that allow students to gain knowledge through meaningful learning situations and that knowledge, in turn, will stay with them for life. Meaningful learning allows the students to be active in their learning and fully engaged in the learning process. This process allows students to remember information because it is important to them and not just because someone told them to remember it. It is time to consider and think about your teaching practices to consider if you are allowing your students to learn in meaningful ways.
When we allow students to access technology tools this allows them the opportunity to gain knowledge through meaningful ways. It allows students with access to a wealth of knowledge and allows them to construct knowledge in their own way and allows them access to building knowledge in areas that they are interested in and not just in areas the teacher decides they need to know. Technology allows students to move beyond rote learning and allows them to access all types of knowledge. In the article Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to education they share,
Teaching in an environment where the internet and discussion are allowed in exams would be different. The ability to find things out quickly and accurately would become the predominant skill. The ability to discriminate between alternatives, then put facts together to solve problems would be critical. That’s a skill that future employers would admire immensely.
We need to provide our students with an environment that allows them to create and answer questions that engage them as learners. This would challenge learners to consider questions that spark interest them and use new technologies to find the answers. This would transform education from teachers providing students with knowledge towards students learning to find, create and analyze information to create their own knowledge.
This debate no doubt has allowed me to dig deeper into what skills education of the 21st century is lacking and what we as teachers need to begin to consider in order to make change within the education system. This is a loaded topic that is much beyond just looking at whether or not schools should be teaching anything that can be googled. Let’s just say this topic has inspired me to look at my own teaching practices as well as the curriculum and begin to consider how I can begin to reform my teaching to fully meet the needs of my 21st-century learners.
Photo Credit: Randy Glasbergen