Saturday, February 14, 2009

Is it a question worth asking?

Yesterday morning I saw this tweet from fellow Keystone Chris Champion.
Intrigued, I quickly google searched on my mobile web phone and send him a DM in twitter, knowing it would go straight to his phone, but I also noticed that within MINUTES he had gathered this series of responses on twitter. His objective in sending the message was to prove the power of PLN and how quickly information can be shared or gathered in a collaborative manner. I am sure additional folks send him messages via DM so that he could receive it on his sms phone making his point to his audience.

However, I had a real, ah ha moment when thinking about this example....

With the $99 iphone coming this summer- it is getting easier and easier to find information at one's finger tips. Karl Fisch recently wrote an post called Twitter Me This where he describes how he used twitter to help a student find "experts" to help a student with a difficult assignment. It dawned on me as I thought about the "immediacy" of answers that kids can get...that we MUST start changing the questions we are asking, the things we are requiring kids to know. I remember the only "C" I got in High School was a class were I was asked to read a book, find an answer, fill out the study guide, take a test...mind you, this was LONG before google even existed. I remember the class, but I remember NONE of the content. I did a lot of work in that class, but I didn't LEARN a thing. Information was presented that today I could have easily found by googling...I wonder however if I wouldn't have learned more given the opportunity to google and find...discussion boards, blog posts, different thoughts and ideas from different perspectives...

I am not saying that Chris's question was a bad question, it met the objective of what he was trying to teach, but it proved to me that what we are asking students to do with the answers they find is much more critical then finding the answers themselves. We must be asking ourselves...if a student can easily find the answer by googling it, is it a question worth asking in a classroom?

At the end of the is not about what kids were taught, but about what they learned.

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