With the internet and technologies available, much of the information students are required to memorize and understand is resting in their back pockets. I, as a human being with access to the internet, may type in any question and get some form of a result immediately. If we consider subject by subject, it will become evident that the system in place currently revolves around the memorization of data when it does not, in fact, need to be this way. Will Richardson summarizes this concept quite nicely in the following quote:
“Schools were built upon a fundamental premise that teachers and knowledge and information were scarce. That is no longer the reality.”
When I was still in high school, I remember being told by both of my grade eight teachers that “I shouldn’t use a calculator.” Why would they say that? Is it, perhaps, because when their math-related curricula was written, calculators weren’t available, and that having a calculator on hand would simplify the material to a point where the lessons could be complete in a matter of days instead of weeks or months? Who is to say. In history classes, our phones were also forbidden. We were required to memorize presented material in order to be able to fill in the blanks, reply to short answer questions, ect. I understand that there are some learners who, after having done the habitual “remember-repeat-regurgitate” process, learn the material more effectively. I also understand that, sometimes, the internet’s first few searches are not always legitimate. However, if I were to do a quick search of “What started the war of 1812”, several resources come up.
Perhaps, in this age of knowledge-at-your-fingertips, it may be more beneficial to perhaps change our systems to teach how we could use the technologies at hand better instead of outwardly banning them from class? I’ll explore this more in future posts.