This debate was well done and went through some really important, fundamental issues with education at the moment. The question of old versus new curriculum, especially with the implementation of a system like Math Makes Sense, which emphasizes exploratory learning.
The Math Makes Sense example is the example that is most often used as it stands for the complete opposite of a system that included Mad Minutes.
These two approaches are diametrically opposed: one focuses on memorization of taken for granted facts and the other seeks to unravel why those facts are indeed facts. As an English teacher, I only see from a far removed place the impact of the war of these two schools of fact. As an example, I wanted my grade 12s to move desks into groups so we could complete an activity. So, I asked them to move my 32 desks into nine groups. This task (of creating the nine groups of approximately three or four) was almost beyond them. I had to model exactly what I had asked them. I don’t know if this is symptomatic of the math system or of sleepy grade 12s, but I was entirely taken aback. Perhaps memorization isn’t a dirty word.
The actual question of the debate, “schools should not be teaching anything that is Googleable” is an interesting one in that is anything truly not googleable? During the debate, the case of not being able to google the cure for cancer was given. While I may not be able to google that (because it doesn’t exist yet), I can find 124,000,000 hits about it and in there somewhere I will find out about the progress.
If I am willing to put the work into finding something, nothing is truly “ungoogleable”.
If this is true, then, what skills do students require in order to succeed?
Students absolutely need critical thinking skills (as well as here, here, and here though there are many, many more), as put forth by the agree side. In fact, there are whole industries around teaching critical thinking, just as there are around memorization.
As Pablo Picasso (maybe — no reputable source can verify) said “learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist”. Students need to know what the rules are, though from there, it is open. Do students need to know why rules are rules or should they just accept that those rules have been rules for centuries and they will continue to be (except when they’re not)?
Personally, I do think that some amount of memorization is important. I worked a retail job throughout high school and a solid, reliable knowledge of multiplication, addition, division, and subtraction were necessary part of my job performance. Even now, as an English teacher, I still need to do quick calculations about division of students, adding totals, and scaling marks.
Because I didn’t do a system like Math Makes Sense, I don’t know why, on a foundational level, 9×9=81 or why y=mx+b, I just do. I haven’t had to calculate slope in over a decade, but I still know the formula to do so, should I ever be on Jeopardy!. I don’t know if understanding why something is would make me better at math or if it is enough just to know that these, like gravity, are fixed concepts in the universe.
But, I do wonder what kinds of critical thinking skills I missed out on in my more formative years because I was drilled on concepts rather than asked to discover them on my own.
But I digress.
Yes, I do believe schools should be teaching googleable content. However, schools should be teaching it in a way that engenders creativity, critical thinking, questioning, and independence.