June 21, 2015 by Dr. Barber
Sitting in the mechanics waiting room, I overheard two separate conversations. In each, there was some point where the recommendation was to “Google” for information. In fact, this is becoming a common phrase. (And, I’m well aware that the company Google does not want this to happen unless you are specifically referring to searching using Google search engine.)
Here’s the question: if you can “Google” for information, what’s my job?
Comment: Students don’t need to memorize information, they look it up.
Response: Of course, they do both.
When my son finished third grade, I discovered that he did not know the multiplication tables. “New” math no longer them to require memorization, just understanding of the concept. My poor boy spent his summer vacation learning his tables. He practiced at the pool, on the plane, in the car and at the kitchen table. In 7th grade, my son was in Honors Pre-Algebra. He stopped by me one evening and said, “I’ll only tell you once. Thank you for making me memorize the tables.”
No one can stop and look up information all the time. In high school Chemistry, I memorized the Periodic Table. I knew the relationships, the meaning of every item and I could use them on tests. Do I still know them? Not really. But I couldn’t take the tests without the memorized knowledge in the time given.
As teachers, we’re still teaching details. The difference is now that we teach with technology to make it easier. We still teach. Some of the teaching may rely on details you need to have at your fingertips to build on. Memorize. So what’s different?
How we teach is different! Orientation videos help explain how the Media Center works. Students can use Kahoot! to show what they know in a blink. We can research items using all sorts of online tools. Students can work at home, on their own devices. Some of the teaching can be more general or more about relationships between disparate materials. That wasn’t always as easy as it is with technology. Teaching with technology is the future, but it still requires teaching tools.
What we teach is different! Students may memorize some facts still but it’s up to us as teachers to determine what can be shown and introduced and what needs more. In fact, with technology, students can be taught how to delve deeper into subjects that interest them without slowing down the group or holding anyone back. Go deeper!