Monday, January 5, 2009

Let's Teach "Uploading" Skills!

Thanks to John Moravec at Education Futures for sharing this article about how teaching facts is becoming irrelevant. The article quotes Don Tapscott, the author of Wikinomics and Growing Up Digital, who states that "memorizing facts in the age of Google and Wikipedia is a waste of time." I especially like John's statement that:

"...education should concentrate on “upload” pedagogies, based on knowledge production by students and collaborating faculty, together with augmentations provided by a new category of community-based volunteers. Using the most advanced forms of information search engines, networks, early artificial intelligence, and the aforementioned volunteers, there is an opportunity to leapfrog education beyond any of the competition. This will require fundamental changes in the mission, structure, and curricula of education at all levels."

I couldn't agree more. We are teaching "downloading" skills. We are teaching our students to memorize facts that they can easily find in seconds online. Instead, we need to focus on how to quickly and easily access these facts and use them to produce new knowledge.

I think John's work, along with Arthur Harkins, at the Leapfrog Institute at the University of Minnesota, is extremely important. I would love to get more involved in working with them.

Thanks John!

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