Teaching since Fall 2001 – 3rd year in 2nd grade

I’m “taking” Google101: Google in the Classroom from ItunesU

I just finished the assignment of reading http://electriceducator.blogspot.com/2009/11/google-proof-questioning-new-use-for.html and this is my response.

Regarding Google Proof questions – I’m of several different minds.
1. In high school my Mom approached the principal about the nature of our finals. She questioned the wisdom of having us memorize and use correctly 20or more formulas. She explained as a scientist, she didn’t rely on her memory, when running tests. People’s lives depended on the results (she was involved in some of the 1st kidney transplants). She always double checked formulas.

2. The same Mom made sure my sister and I had our math facts memorized. Before scanners my Mom could mentally add up the contents of her shopping basket faster than the clerk could ring her up.

3. Dr. Suh at university. After on of those Americans are stupid survey/tests was published, we asked him why he chose to teach Americans in a US university. He told us that Americans might have to look up facts his Japanese students would have had memorized, but the Americans could do more with the information. After I started teaching with the TAKS Testheld over our heads, I always wanted to know if this held up for him or did the ability of hisAmerican students fell off as THE TEST became the focus education.

My conclusion – There are somethings that students need to memorize. Math facts are a big one. We can show the all the different ways to think about putting numbers together and taking them apart, but at some point they need to stop counting on their fingers and know the facts. They also need to have a sense of history. They don’t need to know the date of every battle, but they need to know the American Revolution comes before the American Civil War.

There are other things, where it is way more important to be able to understand the facts and used them to think, ask, and answer more abstract questions.

I was also interested in the comment from the Mother back at the main article. Her daughter was in a remedial class. Instead of having face to face conversations, the class of 13 were blogging. First I have to question the assumption by the Mom that there was no face to face conversations. I agree with the people that pointed out having students blog is a way of improving their writing, and making sure everyone responded. Also I hope that the teacher was encouraging outsiders to comment on the students’ blog posts. I had a big problem with the tone of some of the responses. I felt they were arrogant and the type of response that earn teachers bad reputations.

The Cullen Building at Southwestern University...

The Cullen Building at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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