Google, Gettysburg Address, homework

by agoodnow

If you have a question where do you typically turn for the answer? 

I go to Google.   Any argument I’m having over pure fact, I stop.  I simply go to Google.  Solved.  

It made me wonder….what does that do to our educational system?  If every answer is at our fingertips what is the point of learning arbitrary facts?   Why should a 13 year old kid memorize the Gettysburg Address if he can bring it up on his IPhone in 4 seconds?   I’m not attempting to discount the importance of learning about the Gettysburg Address.  Rather, I think  this instant access to information presents an opportunity.   A way to curb the way something is taught.

I had to memorize the Gettysburg Address when I was a kid.  You know when I forgot it?  About the time I uttered the words “and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”   As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I was done.  You know what was lost within all of those long hours of memorization?  A clear understanding of what the Gettysburg Address accomplished.   What the true impact of that speech had on society.  That speech was not just about slavery or states rights.  There were deeper meanings that my teacher never bothered to explain.   Instead we were meant to memorize 3 paragraphs and recite them.  That isn’t learning. 

My idea here is that the advances in technology give us a chance to think about what is taught.  An interesting concept.  I feel that the majority of what I learned in high school and college I have long forgotten.  But you know what I haven’t forgot…..how to think.  How to solve problems.  To look at issues from more than one viewpoint.    Facts are great, but they are just that.  Facts.  Anyone can check a fact.  To teach someone to think….that’s education.

What must homework be like these days?  If you can just get the answers to all of your questions by typing them into a search engine, what is the point?