This week in EDTC 400 we had our second debate! The topic for this week was “schools should not focus on teaching things that can be Googled”. So this week’s debate was hosted by Sydney and Aurora. Sydney was on the side that agreed that schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled. Aurora was on the side that disagreed with the statement. Both Aurora and Sydney did an amazing job on their preparation for the debates and both created amazing Powtoon videos (which I am currently trying to figure out for my debate on Tuesday), which I have below.
To start out the debate, we had to cast our votes on our initial stance on the topic. Prior to the debate, I was leaning quite heavily to the disagree side. Here is a picture of the votes.
And the Debate Begins
Once the debate started, we watched both Sydney’s and Aurora’s videos. I was starting to get swayed more to Sydney’s side (the agree side), when she discussed using class time to have students practice the skills or topics that can be Googled instead of spending time teaching the topic that can be easily Googled. Sydney argued that students should not spend time memorizing things that can be googled and should instead spend more time using the topics or skills that can be Googled.
Sydney’s point was eye opening to me and I found lots of connections in other classes and the articles we were asked to read that supported her argument. In EMTH 200, we have discussed a lot about encouraging students to learn how to understand a concept and use it instead of students memorizing formulas and facts. It is important for students to understand a topic and have the time to practice to understand. By saving time from not teaching students facts, such as the Pythagorean Theorem, students will be able to have more time to practice using the information and getting a deeper understanding of the topic. In the article by Jeremey Gunter, he discussed how he used Google in his job all the time to help him come up with solutions to issues with programming. Jeremey Gunter advocates that using Google helps him in his daily job to find the right name for a function or code that he does not typically use. He states that “you should never be afraid to admit you don’t know something, and seek to correct it using whatever means necessary” in his article. Jeremey Gunter uses Google to find the answer when he does not know something so the question arises, if this is happening in the workplace should it happen in schools?
Well, Aurora’s side of the debate explained exactly why schools should still be teaching students the information that can be Googled. One of the biggest points that stood out to me from Aurora’s side of the debate is that students often cannot weed out the misinformation on the internet. Even with teaching students how to search websites to discover if the information is accurate or not, some websites can seem completely accurate, but have incorrect information. One of the videos that Aurora wanted us to watch is a Ted Talk by Andreas Ekstrӧm which linked to Aurora’s argument and opened my eyes to the background of the internet. From watching this video, I learnt that Google can go in and manually get rid of content that they deem should not be on the internet as in the case with Michelle Obama. I did not ever think about the person sitting behind the internet that can control what is appropriate to be viewed by the world and what is not. The internet is a very powerful tool in the world today and the people that control that content that is displayed on google are very powerful.
In another article that Aurora asked us to read, it questioned if technology will make teachers obsolete. Using Google in the classroom can be beneficial, but I do not think technology will ever be able to replace the important role that teachers play in students’ lives. If teachers are only relying on Google to teach student things, I do not think students will actually be engaged and learning the information, but instead learning how to become better internet searchers.
Overall throughout this debate, I was being swayed to both sides of the argument. I think teaching students the topics that can easily be looked up is not always a good use of class time, but in some cases it is necessary. I know it is easy for students to look up what the answer to 3+3 is on Google or on a calculator, but not teaching students why 3+3=6 is something that I do not think is right. I think it is important to allow students to search for easily accessible information that they will not need to use every day, but I think students should still learn skills and information that they will use in their everyday life.
The turning point in the debate for me was when the comment was made about accessibility to the internet in many communities. We discussed that if curriculum changes, or schools stop teaching students the information that can be Googled, some students will be placed at a disadvantage. Many students do not have good internet access at home, especially in rural areas and it is not fair to those students to not learn things that can be Googled simply because of lack of access. Along with not every student having good internet access at home, not every school or community has reliable internet that will allow students to Google topics. This issue really pushed me to disagree with the argument that schools should not be teaching topics that can be Googled in school.
I think it is important to allow students to use Google in the classroom, but I think teachers should still continue to teach students the information that can be easily Googled because in University and on the job (such as working construction or as an electrician), students still need to have basic skills that can be Googled, such as simple math, writing, and grammar. Schools cannot stop teaching students information that can be Googled because students and communities with limited internet access will be put at a disadvantage. Schools must continue to teach students information that can be Googled because even though we have Google in our pockets, sometimes Google must stay in our pockets. Universities and workplaces do not always allow Google to be used, especially not in a test. Google is a wonderful tool that can be used to enhance learning, but it should not replace the valuable teaching from a teacher.
What are your thoughts on teaching students information that can be easily Googled? Leave a comment below!
Thanks for reading my blog post!