Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Asking the unGoogleable



Thanks to my ESSDACK Newsletter, I read an article that provokes some thought into teaching and testing. The overriding question is this: If students can find the direct answer on Google, then why do they need teachers?

The main point of the article is to raise students to higher level thinking. That is, ask open-ended questions that require research, development and incorporate a formulated opinion with sources to back up the responses.

Of course, it took all of 5 seconds for folks to start to Google the "UnGoogleable" questions. I loved the responses. Ultimately, a rubric for scoring and parameters regarding resources lies at the heart of the grading of such questions. For example, several Wikipedia entries can answer the questions. A well-crafted rubric might require students to seek out primary sources or at least corroborating sources.

 Now, mind you, this article is written specifically for History teachers. You can save any rhetoric on why students need to know basic math, etc, for another discussion. Or heck, start one here, why not?

Do we need to know names and places and dates in a laundry list when that laundry list is at the fingertips 24 hours a day? No. The key, though, is figuring how to incorporate that laundry list into meaningful, thought-provoking research. And, the research doesn't have to be 10 pages or even 3 pages. It can be a paragraph.

The article is worth a read, even if you aren't a History teacher:

http://historytech.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/if-they-can-google-it-why-do-they-need-you/

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