Recently, a student told me that he only needed to learn what was going to be on the test temporarily because he "could Google anything" he needed to know. He explained that he crammed for tests, but then he soon forgot everything he "learned." If he needed the information again, he would just Google it.
Is the ability to Google everything, from anywhere making people dumber/less informed?
I think this demonstrates that testing today does not prepare students for the skills they will need to prosper outside of school. Are we teaching them how to do an advanced search on Google, how to distinguish between good and mediocre web sites? When students are interested in a topic they will learn and remember.
I certainly agree that testing is a problem. Maybe this student is well prepared for life. Why hang on to information (facts) you can pull up so easily?
However, though Webster (the computer) won the Jeopardy showdown (he was really fast on the buzzer) against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, Webster had trouble with an equally simple but yet complex syntax in Final Jeopardy:
The Final Jeopardy category was U.S. Cities and the clue was: “Its largest airport is named for a World War II hero; its second largest for a World War II battle.”
Watson answered, “What is Toronto?????”
The string of question marks indicated that the system had very low confidence in its response, I.B.M. researchers said, but because it was Final Jeopardy, Webster was forced to give a response. The machine did not suffer much damage. It had wagered just $947 on its result. (The correct answer is, "What is Chicago?")
Now, did I remember the details in this reponse. No. I googled it. But maybe my point is made. Artificial Intelligence is not going to replace this students ability to think,
It is so true that the skills needed for 21st Century Learning involve interpreting author's purpose, analyzing data, and evaluating the written word. Students need time to explore the digital tools available to them. Students need to be taught how to match the tool with the task.
I overheard a conversation the other day between two educators who were wondering why bother with spelling tests. Kids can use spell check, for example. However, most know that the computer can't correct the meaning of the word as it is used. So...what should be taught, rules, such as "i before e, except after c"?
There is so much available through Google, but kids need the knowledge to use it wisely.