Schools must teach students HOW TO ‘Google’!

Do I Agree that we shouldn’t be teaching students information that can be googled?

During Monday’s debate, as well as the readings provided, the agree team made me waiver in opinion.  Teaching them skills such as choice would really help them in the longer run.  Two important questions that come to mind are “Do we disregard curriculum altogether then? “, as well as “What would a classroom look like if so?”.

The TedTalk provided by the agree group goes on to say that the value of knowledge is dropping because it can expire, and that internet accessibility provides us immediate access to knowledge therefore we should be teaching creativity and how to apply new information instead of what we currently are teaching.  There are a few problems I have with this video.  I feel like I have heard that “education needs to change” for years, in fact this video is already 4 years old. So when does it change? I think we don’t know how to do this, or, perhaps more accurately, we do but don’t want to or can’t afford to do so.  We all know the facts that he states. Teach to the different needs of students, learn from our mistakes as educators and transform the system.  But again, when will this happen?

“The Objective of Education is Learning, not Teaching” article states the obvious that most if not all of us learn better when we teach others.  I specifically love the comment “at a very early stage…how to learn is largely their responsibility”, because very often the parents or teachers are blamed for students who leg behind.  I personally believe that we need to hold our students and children more accountable and for them to show that intrinsic motivation to do their best, not just because their parents say to or for an award.

I Disagree with this weeks topic.

Now, I definitely end up siding with the disagree team.  The main reason being that students will be accessing the internet and technology regardless, so we need to teach them how to use it. Otherwise, how else do they navigate the overwhelming amount of information…


A second reason that I believe the entire class agrees upon is that we need to be teaching students critical thinking skills.  But what does that mean? Honestly, I might struggle to answer that and so would my students.

Core Critical Thinking Skills

This visual from the article “Using Technology to Develop Students’ Critical Thinking Skills” finally tells us exactly what critical thinking really is.  All of these skills are needed to navigate the internet and the copious amounts of real and fake information out there.  This article also provides great examples for the types of skills you want the students to learn or show and what types of questions to be asking.  For example, if you want a student to be able to critique something you should be asking them “What is the best…and why?”.

Lastly, I am very ‘pro’ that memorization is important and that there are many areas where it is simply needed, and opinions or personal input are not as important.  The article “Why memorising facts can be a keystone to learning”, talks about the skills we use every single day, such as eating, walking, driving, that are memorized and stored for easy retrieval.  Memorization, such as any other type of learning, should not be the sole type of learning taking place.  It is using different techniques together and using students how to build on the skills and knowledge learned that will help them to be successful in the future.

“Why can I remember the lyrics to every single backstreet boys song from 20 years ago but I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast 20 minutes ago?”

^Not the way we want our students to be using their memory…but you get the idea!

All in all, I must say that the moral of this story is we must be teaching our students better skills for researching online.  Many students will pursue post-secondary schooling of some sort, thus need to learn how to properly search for information and sift through what is true and factual/proven and what is not, or is really just an opinion. As mentioned in the week 1 debate, the students will use these search engines at some point, thus we should be showing them how to use them properly.



4 thoughts on “Schools must teach students HOW TO ‘Google’!

  1. Hi Kristen,

    Great post! Even though I was on team “agree”, I to see the value in memorisation of things that will help us function and succeed in everyday life such as counting money, driving or walking as you mentioned above. However, children absorb information and retain it at a progressively higher rate than adolescents and adults and these are all things that require repetition as well. Therefore, I would argue that when it comes to higher level thinking and more abstract concepts, memorisation does not necessarily aid in the success of our students. It is at this stage that critical thinking skills and the ability to take information and apply it to different concepts becomes important. I agree that students must develop critical thinking skills to properly navigate information the internet provides them with but also that the internet can be used as a tool to further build critical thinking skills. I really like the examples provided in the article by Jessica Mansbach that you spoke to above regarding the use of discussion forums and reflection activities! Thanks for the share!!


  2. Kristen you nailed it with the comment – “at a very early stage…how to learn is largely their responsibility”. We as teachers are the ones who often communicate to families, when students are behind. Some students lack the motivation and as teachers we get blamed but I think we need to higher our standards for achievement. Far too often, students are given too many chances for late assignments and I feel we coddle kids too much. In reality, when you have a job, for example as a teacher and you do not enter your report card comments – that is on you. You had a job with a deadline that you did not meet. Students do not always have the sense of urgency and will do the bare minimum to get by.


  3. I think we can apply the idea of students needing to be able to search for information to things beyond the internet as well. Perhaps they can use tools like Google to search for an expert in a certain field but having the skills to connect with and communicate with that expert is something we need to be teaching students as well.


  4. Great reflections, Kristen! I just wanted to comment about your statement that “Memorization, such as any other type of learning, should not be the sole type of learning taking place. It is using different techniques together and using students how to build on the skills and knowledge learned that will help them to be successful in the future.”
    I fully agree that balance is the key. I think that the evolution needs to happen within our curricula however, regarding what SHOULD be memorized and what COULD be Googled. I think that instant access from memory is completely necessary for some things. You mentioned driving a car, for example. It would be rather dangerous to have to Google street signs every time we see one.
    The difference might lie in accessing appropriate knowledge for certain conditions. However, applying knowledge to analysis and creativity will enhance memorization into a more functional condition and will help students move beyond rote regurgitation of knowledge to functional usage. I believe that we need to UNDERSTAND why and how something works, like government or multiplication, before we worry about memorizing the details around it.
    Quite honestly, I have memorized tons of information for tests over the years. However, once the test was over, most of that information was gone. In contrast, I have Googled loads of information to write papers for 18 masters classes and inform my teaching. I have internalized that information through analysis and application and made it usable. Google did not hurt my ability to continue to develop my knowledge. It was a necessary component of my 21st century learning.


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