Everything Can be Googled… Teach it Anyways!?

The topic of this weeks EDTC 400 debate is “schools should not focus on teaching things that can be Googled”. Supporting the “pro” side was Sydney McGrath and supporting the “con” side was Aurora Lay-Street. Entering this debate I right away disagreed. I just think it is impossible to make up a curriculum with things that cannot be found on Google. Everything can be Googled now, but that does not mean that teachers are not needed.

Prevote Results:

89.5% voted for disagree and 10.5% voted for agree! I was not shocked by these results and I am surprised there were votes for agree. EVERYTHING can be Googled now, and it is impossible to find something NOT on Google. If schools were to focus on teaching things that cannot be Googled, there would be nothing to teach.

Post Vote Results:

After the debate, 73.7% voted for disagree and 26.3% voted for agree. After seeing the prevote results, I had no idea how Sydney was going to pull this off. Although I, and a lot of the class, stayed with the option of disagree – a good portion of the class switched to agree. The “agree” side went up by 15.8% which is amazing. Looking at the difference of these results, it is no surprise that both sides made some amazing points!

A G R E E  S I D E

“Shouldn’t we make more time in class to focus on teaching students how to think critically and to come up with creative solutions?”. This quote was from Sydney’s video on YouTube, and I could not agree more on it. As a math major I think that thinking critically and coming up with creative solutions is extremely important for students. Doing so, students will gain confidence and knowledge on things like problem solving. Having all the answers at our finger tips introduces memorization (which has been a big flaw in the school system) and takes away our creative and critical thinking, just as Sydney said in her video!

The article, Why learn facts if you can Google? explains how information is just a click away for students. If students want to know any historical dates or learn poetry, they can just google it and memorize it through google. This article states “Learning facts and figures is a waste of time for most school pupils because such information is readily available just a mouse click away…”. Now, why would educators waste their time on such things that is a click away? I believe that teachers are here to introduce information to new topics to their students and give information on these topics. Google then comes handy to the students that may not understand. I always pictured teachers as the main source of information and Google as a backup. There are many times where I do my homework outside of school hours and I have a question for the teacher. As Sydney said during the debate, “Teachers aren’t around you 24/7”.

The video above was featured in the reading, Creating Innovators. This video talks about the importance of innovation. This video talks about students creating and building things and a lot of their creativity is how they learn. Not only do these students learn, they understand! Google can’t even develop creativity inside a student, only experiences can. At the end of the video a man says, “our success is measured more or less by the rate of innovation”. Innovation creates change, and in my class ECS 210 we talk a lot about how the school system needs some changes. How can we make such changes if humanity starts lacking innovation?

D I S A G R E E  S I D E

Aurora makes a lot of great of points in her debate video. Although everything can be Googled, we still need teachers because Google gives out misinformation. Although the internet is very quick and handy, you can never trust what you read on the internet. Aurora talked about a study on two groups of college students. One group looked up the information after class and the other group knew they would not be able to find the information online. What group remembered the information the best? The group who didn’t look the information up after class. This goes to show that teachers are key to understanding information. Aurora also points out that students who Google things will find the answer and not look into it afterwards. As the picture shows above, Aurora says “Students gained less information if they knew it was searchable afterwards”. This is an extremely good point because even I am guilty of finding something on the internet then just moving on without any further research. I think teachers feeding us information and us having Google as a backup is a great balance for learning and understanding.

In Terry Heicks’ article, How Google Impacts The Way Students Thinkhe makes a very interesting point that I never really thought of before. This society is raised around technology like iPads, iPhones, Androids, etc. Any app is just a tap of the finger away and it is becoming todays society’s norm to get our infromation through Google. As Heicks puts it, “the digital world and its habits can bend and shape not just how you access information, but how you conceptualize it entirely”. Although teachers are very important and useful, we should not be worried that things people learn are on Google. Finding information online is our normal and this generation knows how to retain the information that we read online.

This video above is a TedTalk lead by Andreas Ekstrom. Ekstrom starts off by saying how ever time he would go to a school he would ask the students, “Why do you Google? Why is Google the search engine for you?”.

  1. “It works”
  2. “I really don’t know of any alternatives”
  3. “I’m certain to always get the best, unbiased search result”

Ekstrom states that Google is reliable when we are looking for facts opposed to knowledge. An example from the video is when someone Googles the capital city of France, this person is searching for an isolated fact. Facts are something that we all agree on and 100% of the time you will find the correct answer through Google. But if you type in something longer and more complex, you are searching for knowledge. Knowledge is no longer built from one isolated fact but dozens and dozens of facts and because of this, the answer you will find is questionable. Ekstrom talks about how people can get distorted on Google and other individuals can distort those people. Through the examples he gives, he proves that an unbiased search result it a myth.

Conclusion

Not only did Sydney and Aurora make some very good points in the debate, but they always supplied us with some great readings and videos. After the debate I still chose disagree but was starting to lean to the agree side. After researching for this weeks’ blog I am now in the middle. Google is decreasing our critical thinking and also lowering the chances of students being able to problem solve. On the other hand, this society is built to retain information online equally as well as listening to an educator. Thank you Sydney and Aurora for the great debate and making this decision for me undecidable! That goes to show how great these ladies did!!

Until next time,

Miss. Lorenz

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2 Replies to “Everything Can be Googled… Teach it Anyways!?”

  1. Hi Kylie! Really great work with your post! You’ve laid out both sides of the debate well and I totally agree with you in regards to the important role that teacher play, regardless of whether google is in the picture or not! At the same time, maybe we need to be questioning where we can find the middle ground where google and teachers are working together rather than placing one above the other. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Hey Kylie,
    As a math major myself, I agree when you mention coming up with creative solutions is important for students. If students are able to just google the answer to a math problem, are they actually learning? Math is a crazy subject with some concepts being based simply on patterns while some concepts have no pattern at all and desire critical thinking. I am guilty of using derivative calculators online, while I use this for questions I am uncertain about, I also use it to check my work for previous questions but am often found just copying the work then. Is that learning? But as Sydney said, Google is around us all the time unlike a teacher so sometimes it is okay not to teach an idea which can be Googled. If a teacher knows the Unit Circle can be found online and students already understand how to use it from a previous class, is it necessary to re-teach it or just let students Google it for a refresher? Google is an insane search engine. One has to be careful about the legitimacy of information which students may not take the time to identify or else the students will be given false information which will affect their learning. Great post!
    Until next time,
    – Jayden

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