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Is it worth teaching it, if we can google it?


Well its holidays for me at the moment and all though im trying to switch off and not think too much about school, its been hard especially when ive been immersed with so many fantastic, thought provoking and inspiring ideas .  Anyway while on a run earlier this week, ipod cranking in my ears i was still thinking about some of the different things I cant wait to try in class next term. I also starting thinking about my Year 10 Phys ed class, who will be having a second attempt at the same online test I created using the excellent wondershare quiz creator. Im hoping that by doing the test again, the kids will have a chance to learn and remember the material, rather than simply scraping together a meaningless ‘pass mark’ through cramming the night before.  Lets hope…

Anyway back to my run. I started to think that just maybe my efforts were pointless, is it worth teaching content that can be accessed instantly anywhere, anytime, at the click of a button? I read earlier in the week that there is 2.7 Billion google searches a month, clearly questions are being asked. These days the worlds collective knowledge can be found online, scary?  Since my run this question has been ticking over in my mind and im not quite sure what I think just yet. One thing is for sure, I think that there is already a big shift in focus towards teaching skills in our schools rather than content and as time goes on, this will only become more obvious.

Now im not saying that we don’t teach anything, thats obviously in our job description, but at the same time our job is certainly changing. I think we are getting to the stage where we will become mentors more than anything who model appropriate lifelong learning behaviours, rather than pretending to the be the experts standing at the front of the room demading all the attention. Using a mentor model in the classroom we just may have more of a chance of creating these lifelong learners we talk about, who then go through life with the skills to pursue the knowledge and content they desire.

Although we need a massive shift before this is a possibility, for example Ive mentioned this to a few other teachers and a couple of them basically laughed at me and said it was offending that I was downplaying the importance of their expetise in the classroom. This wasnt enough to change my mind, I really think that this could be the future direction of education. I’ll be honest, I dont remember half the stuff I was taught at school, but Ive learnt alot of skills since school that give me the confidence in knowing exactly how to source an answer when the question arises. These are the skills we need to be teaching, and as a result we may just make school more important, relevant and engaging for all students as they begin to carve their own paths and not simply those set by their teachers and the curriculum.

So who was the first prime minister of england? Just give me a second, ill get back to you…

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One Response

  1. Hi Jarrod
    I discovered your blog recently – via a twitter link – and have enjoyed reading your posts and following your thoughts. This last post prompts me to ask if you have ever thought of becoming a librarian ;-). Teaching info search skills is a large part of our job.

    As for those teachers who doubt that young people can and do learn without/despite us I would suggest that all those kids out there playing games didn’t learn their skills from their teachers at school.

    We need to acknowledge the world our students inhabit.


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