Should we stop teaching things that are Google-able ?

If star trek/ star wars has taught us anything, its that they still need pilots in space. This tells us that there will always be a need for the human factor and computers can’t do everything for us.

If you are asking the question “should we stop teaching google-able things in school I would counter with what do we teach that that isn’t google-able? Not very much… So I think you’d be trying to argue the wrong point. Should we stop ASSESSING things that are easily google-able? In my mind that is a better argument. In the end both of these arguments come down to outcome based assessment and putting much more importance on the journey than the destination.

The real world connection.

Before my career as an educator I was a mechanic. I still tinker and do a lot of mechanic work on the side. I have forgotten a lot of little details and am constantly searching little details like torque or voltage specs. Googling the answer to these things doesn’t mean that I have lost the greater understanding of the big picture. I can still rebuild that engine, or troubleshoot your electrical system… Let me give you a quick example. I replaced the fuel tank in my 1968 C-10 this weekend. However I didn’t want the original tank that is behind the seat so… I used the internet to search tank dimensions and found that a 1968 mustang fuel tank will fit in the rear sub-frame of my truck. Long story short I have a ford duel tank in my Chevy truck. BUT… there is always a but with these darned out hot rods. The gas gauge for Ford and Chev trucks are different. In fact they are opposite, the Chev tank is 0-90 Ohms while a Ford is 87-8 Ohms. Follow me? (the gauge would be backwards, would read full when empty). However my understanding of electricity goes further than memorizing Ohms Law or total Ohms for each fuel sending unit (I did not know that the gauge would read backwards… I had to google it).

If we based understanding on memorizing facts then I would have failed. However, understanding that I can’t simply switch the wires and make the gauge work backward because that would be bad… (then I would have sent an electric current into my fuel tank… how do you think that story ends??) Instead I need to reverse the resistance of the sending unit in the tank.. Boom. done. (that’s a boom pun… cause there wasn’t a boom… get it?).

So as I show my kids these things I am not focused on the easily google-able fact of what is the Ohms range on the ford/chev fuel sending unit… I am going to make sure they understand the difference between volts and ohms and the significance of how this circuit works.

Published by bradraes7578

Vice Principal at Prince Arthur in Moose Jaw, Sk.

7 thoughts on “Should we stop teaching things that are Google-able ?

  1. First off, thank you for including the introduction Star Trek / Star Wars reference, that was an easy way for me to connect with your post. I really value your opinion on the original debate topic of if teachers should teach things that can be Googled, and how you have changed the question to should teachers be ASSESSING things that can be google. I never thought of it that way, and would agree that this new statement is critical. At the end of the day, what we should be assessing is if students have deeper understanding of the content.

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  2. I love how you rephrased the debate prompt to: ” Should we stop ASSESSING things that are easily google-able?” I was trained in Arts Education and have always valued the process vs product ideal. The end result, or the regurgitation of fact isn’t always indicative of what has truly been learned, but it is the incremental learning is what counts. Some may even argue this is another reason why outcome-based assessment is more valid than an overall summative grade. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

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  3. Great point, Brad! I do not know anything about cars, but can see the similarity between your example and learning a new language. I could google everything related to the English language and still wouldn’t be able to speak it properly. Unfortunately, as you pointed out, that is being assessed though. I agree that the focus should be on how you can take what you’ve learnt to the next level? Can you apply the new knowledge, think critically and be creative or just regurgitate the information.

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  4. I think this post is the one that made me stop and think the most in this entire semester. 2 things really stood out for me. The first being “what do we teach that that isn’t google-able?” As an educator, I am torn with this statement. I would HOPE that I can teach my students things like compassion, and empathy, and healthy relationship building skills (as a Grade 1 teacher, I believe these are crucial). Similar to the 6 characteristics that were outlined in the debate. Now, I agree that you could simply put in the Google search engine “How to be a good person” however, without having that human example or visually seeing these traits, I believe it would be hard to fully adapt these aspects into your personality or the person you are. The second was your statement about focusing on the journey over the destination. I really enjoy this wording. With so much information available to use instantaneously, there really is no “journey” it seems. You just click and find what you need. I appreciated your story, and the journey you took, to reinforce this statement. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Besides the good giggle at the opener to your entry- it also reminded me of something I found in research for my debate! I was attempting to do some oppo research on a nonprofit that Nataly and Kalyn mention in their video called “Digital School in a Box” (which was pointless because it’s an amazing UNICEF sponsored program that provides technology preloaded with education software to children in refugee camps) and the ONLY criticism I could find was from one of the developers themselves who said “it’s a start- obviously the human aspect of teaching and learning is missing from this program and therefore it’s incomplete.” Which along with your analogy sort of sums up how I feel on the topic.

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  6. Easily the best thing about this post is the pic of L in your famous truck! However, you also made some pretty strong points. I do like how you said we should maybe stop assessing things that are easily google-able. Maybe it is the higher level thinking and if they have that skill that is really what is important now. And to answer your question… I don’t follow you …OHM! Great read!

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