Monday, September 13, 2004


"When learners use computers as partners, they off-load some of the unproductive memorizing tasks to the computer, allowing the learner to think more productively."

This is a quote from the article off Blackboard. As I read this, I admit gave the computer a funny look, as if the author could see me. I don't agree at all with her statement about "unproductive memorizing." Although memorizing often seems like busywork, it is very necessary in education. There is no way to get along without at least a few rudimentary memorization skils. The very ability to read comes from memorizing letters, combinations, and sounds. How much longer and more difficult will homework assignments take if students are not required to memorize? Students would be constantly looking up information that should be found in the cannon of knowledge of an educated person. I'm not sure if she meant this statement to be as strong as I have made it seem, but I maintain that memorizing should never be deemed "unproductive."


At September 14, 2004 11:03 AM , Blogger Rick said...

You bring up some great points, and I'm glad you were thinking as you read the article! This is actually heavily debated in education right now. Do we teach students to "know" things by having them memorize procedures and facts, or do we help them learn how to "do" things with knowledge that is stored in computers or databases or others. For example, should students have to memorize calculus equations, or simply know what the theories are and how to apply the correct equation to the correct situation?

It's a hot debate, and I'm kind of middle of the road myself. I think there needs to be a balance. But the fact is we can't do everything in schools we want to do, so what types of learning are more important, and how do we organize schools to teach the most important kinds of knowledge?


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