This week in EDTC 400, the debate topic was Schools should not focus on things that can be googled. Truthfully, I wasn't aware that this topic was so controversial in education today until listening to the debaters points. Initially I was 100% yes with incorporating Google into our teaching and learning. After listening, viewing and reading more about the debate topic, has my ideologies about google changed? Read more to find out!
In the article, Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to Education, there are a plethora of great points arguing for the use of google. Sigata Mintra, the author of this article talks about the generational change of education and the out dated methods that are no longer helping our society grow. He says, "we have a romantic attachment to the past," and the main reason for this is the curriculum educators must follow. There are no explanations as to why the curriculum is set up the way it is. In fact, because of the arbitrariness of the curriculum Mintra believes it's the reason our education is out of date, our teaching styles require tedious, old fashioned methods where tests, memorization of facts and lectures are encouraged. However, with the help of Google and 21st-century skills education can and should be relevant to the lives of our learners. Advent of Google article describes an example where a teacher challenged traditional ways of learning and used google search engine to teach her students. Instead of lecturing the class, having them copy notes while unsuccessfully engaging them, she allows her students to be in charge of their learning. In my opinion, this is a 21st-century skill that will help students become lifelong learners. Giving students the autonomy to feel capable to learn on their own validates to students what they can accomplish and leaves them with feeling of pride and success. Using google is not just about getting the facts, learning them and then moving on, much like you see in a traditional learning environment. Instead, google offers a world of learning to everyone. It's inclusive (speech to text or text to speech apps), readily available, provides multiple perspectives and allows students to be at the forefront of their own learning. By shifting education into this phenomenon our curriculum would need to be different, it would have to change. Instead of emphasizing on facts, dates and figures, Mintra suggests the curriculum should be question oriented, tapping into students creative minds and digging deeper for answers. He says questions need to, "engage learners in a world of unknowns. Questions that will occupy their minds through their waking hours and sometimes their dreams." Having the ability to research, gather information and then put facts together to solve problems is a critical skill to have Mintra suggests. Old fashion, traditional ways of teaching and learning are not helping our students develop the essential skills they need to be successful, engaged citizens. Google is here, google is now. Let's use it!
Is google affecting deeper learning and the ability to engage students negativity? Have we become too reliant on using google's search engine? In the article, How Google Impacts the Way Students Think, readers are introduced to ideas on how society is becoming masters of the google search and how detrimental this can be to learning. I am definitely guilty of this, especially being a university student myself. If I don't know a word I've come across in the textbook, google it. If I can't remember a specific theory, google it. Realistically, google has provided the world with a source to E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. According to the article above written by Terry Heick, this type of learning has become problematic. Terry argues that google creates an illusion of accessibility. They explain this by saying, "google is powerful, the result of a complicated algorithm that attempts to index human thought that has been digitally manifest." Because of this power that google has over people, Heick believes an illusion is created, suggesting to people that answers are always within reach even when they aren't. Again, I would admit that I am guilty of this. However, when I go onto Google and the answer I am looking for isn't right at my finger tips, isn't that a positive for learning? It means I have to be creative with what I am looking for, think outside the box and possibly gather other perspectives that could lead me to finding an answer. Looking at this idea from an educators lens, allowing our students to use Google and engage with the internet using critical thinking skills is a positive learning experience. Heick's second point in the article states, "Google naturally suggests "answers" as stopping points." The author suggests that having quick and easy access to information will halt student learning suggesting that the learning task is over and completed. I completely agree with this point, however student learning stops not because of using Google but from the lack of engagement and creativity of what to do with the answer now. Educators should not expect students to use Google, find the answer and then move on. I talked about this phenomenon earlier and said that it applies to traditional teaching and learning. Lecturing, writing down notes and moving on. I'm hesitant to bring up George Couros quote about the use of technology because I have used it in the past 3 blog posts (whoops!). It is just so good! He talks about the teachers role in implementing technology, and I think this is extremely important to ensure Heick's points do not become reality.
In conclusion, as educators we need to be preparing our students for a life outside of school and this includes allowing them to explore Google for learning purposes. Using Google allows us to expand knowledge that isn’t just deemed “important” as well it allows all perspectives of learning. The world is always changing, we as educators need to prepare them with all the information out there and at the same time we also need to remember that google and technology will not and should not replace teachers. Google has changed the way we access information. 21st- century education needs to understand, strategize and and develop ways to enhance engagement levels of students, and I believe Google is a perfect source to do so.
Thanks for reading my opinion on this interesting debate topic! As always I like to end my blog posts with a relevant and meaningful quote. This one came from the article Google not, learn not: why searching can sometimes be better than knowing.
"There is only one cure for ignorance, and that will always be asking questions." - Jeremy Gunter