No More Memorizing In Schools – Yes, Really!

We just came across this recent post by Dr. Judy Willis over on Edutopia and had to share.

She claims that within five to ten years, it is likely that in some countries students will have access to the internet during standardized tests and assessments. Basically, this cuts out the need to memorize facts. The reasoning Dr. Willis presents is well worth a read.

While this is a pretty bold prediction, it certainly gives us all something to think about.

There will always be some facts in some subjects that need to be memorized. But why should I need to know the order of the planets by heart when I can just look it up if I need the info?

This got us thinking that access during testing to a student’s own blog, ePortfolio, notes, and files also makes a whole lot of sense.

What do you think?

We’d love to get your comments below (or on the original post). Even better would be to write your own blog post about the topic and leave a link in the comments for others to find.

Do you have any additional projections about internet use in learning that you’d like to make? Let’s hear ‘em!

Image: Cramming by Bigstock

Ronnie Burt

Works for Edublogs. Former secondary math teacher and wannabe musician. Follow me on twitter @ronnieburt!

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4 Responses

  1. Isabella says:

    Exams and tests are meant to quiz you on what you know about the subject i.e. what you have studied.
    This is a rational idea; as it is impossible to memorise all notes for a specific subject. Also, knowing that only half of the information may even be asked makes it difficult to achieve a high mark-even if you have been studying for weeks in and out.

  2. Kimberly Herbert says:

    Reminds me of 2 different conversations.
    1. My Mom and the Math/Science teachers in HS. My Mom was a research chemist, who worked on kidney transplants. She felt the on mid-terms and finals our teachers were being unfair making us memorize all the formulas and how they were used.

    She told the math/science teachers and principal that in the lab she NEVER relied on her memory alone. She always checked the formula to make sure she wasn’t leaving something off. She still had to know which formula to apply to a given situation.

    Result – we were allowed to make formula sheets with lists of formulas to use on midterms and finals. (Unit tests that only covered particular formulas were different)

    2) University one of those Americans are stupid tests/surveys came out. We asked Dr. Suh why he choose to teach in the US if Japanese (were he grew up) students were so much smarter.

    His reply was that yes Japanese students had more facts memorized, but American students could do more with those facts EVEN IF THEY HAD TO LOOK THEM UP. (Pre internet) He said he would never have a university student argue/debate him in Japan – it happened every single day in our class and all his other classes.

    We were HS seniors the year HB 72 was passed and the ball got rolling on standardized testing in Texas. The class that entered the year after we left University, was the first to have standardized testing to get out of HS. I always wanted to find out if is opinion changed after standardized testing became the norm.

    I take after my Mom’s opinion. I double check facts before I post on line. I frequently tell my students, I’m not sure about X lets look it up. If being able to look up facts means our testing goes to a higher level of thinking I’m all for it.

  3. Emily619 says:

    At first glance, this thought seems very out of place. There is so much memorization and regurgitation in education that it is hard to imagine a world where we as teachers would be not be allowed to test basic facts.

    However, it was helpful to think of the example in the original post of using calculators on standardized tests. Contrary to fears that calculators would not allow tests to measure student knowledge, they actually allowed students to answer questions that dipped deeper into math than just x+y=4.

    Certainly, in my own life, I use technology frequently to check facts, to look up words I am uncertain about, and to learn more about topics that interest me. But I would have to admit that if my students could access basic facts during tests, I would need to build more higher-level thinking into my class and especially into my evaluations.

    That doesn’t seem like a bad thing, at all.

  4. Alyssa Boron says:

    When I first read this post, I was taken aback that students would not be held accountable for information that they are being taught and need to know for a particular course. Then, I thought about it for a moment. How often do we, adults in our own fields, rely only on our knowledge to complete a task, etc. As a teacher, I often reference colleagues, websites, textbooks, etc. to exchange ideas and/or check something. I do feel that we need to be knowledgeable in our areas but do we need to know everything there is to know about our area? I don’t think so. Our world is changing and we are starting to evolve with it.

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