Google, Are You My New Teacher?

I cannot even begin to count the amount of times that I have heard, or am guilty of saying, “I don’t know. . . I’ll Google it!” Gone are the days that if you didn’t know something you had to ask an actual human being, or research it in a book. The internet is full of information, and it is right at the tips of your fingers. So, what does that mean for teachers? Or schools? Or the future of education?  This was the focus of the latest edition of The Great EdTech Debate – Schools should not focus on things that can be easily Googled.

A Recap of the Debate

This week, both teams were in agreement as to why teachers should not rely on Google to teach. In their video (posted below), Curtis and Lisa focused on these key ideas:

  1. Mindful Learning
  2. 6 Skills Needed to Be Successful that Google Cannot Teach/Provide
  3. The LoTi (Levels of Teaching Innovation) Framework

Daina and Jocelyn also outlined several reasons why Google may not be the best avenue for teaching and learning.

Their key arguments included:

  1. The Reliance on Google Diminishes our Critical Thinking Skills
  2. Teaching using Google Widens the Digital Divide
  3. Makes Us (teachers) Expect Students to Have Basic Skills and Knowledge they Don’t Have Yet

My Thoughts

One of my favourite takeaways from this debate was the idea of The LoTi Framework (The Levels of Teaching Innovation Framework). Before this debate, I had never heard of LoTi. It is a great framework to use in the classroom, and I am excited to look more into it. I am still not an expert by any means, but I am happy to have added another tool to my teaching tool belt!

One of the groups posted a chapter from a book called So, go on then, why do I need a teacher when I’ve got Google? This was probably my favourite reads this week!  I have actually heard a student tell a fellow teacher “I don’t need to listen to you, I can just Google anything you can tell me anyways!” So, this chapter instantly piqued my curiosity!

There was a line in the chapter, in response to the title, that said, “The answer to that question depends, to be brutally frank, on how good a teacher you are.” The article goes on to talk about how a teacher’s role is to help their students find knowledge, and know “good” knowledge from “bad” knowledge, but the role of a teacher goes so far beyond that. The article outlines how a teacher’s role also includes things such as developing students’ communication skills, creativity, a sense of wrong and right, and so on.

To me, I took this as, a teacher is SO much more than a search engine. There are things that teachers do for their students that Google could never do. You cannot foster a relationship with Google, but the relationships you can develop with a teacher can last forever. It’s that innate need for human interaction or love that humans have that you simply can’t get from Google.

That being said, I am not saying Google is awful either. It can be used, like all technology, to help expand learning and explore ideas. It just needs to have balance, like all things, and be used to ENHANCE what the teacher is teaching, not replace them (I feel like that is a common line in most of my posts!).

6 thoughts on “Google, Are You My New Teacher?

  1. I love the title of this blog post! I really agree with the last 2 paragraphs you wrote. It really is about a good teacher using Google (and other tech) effectively to empower students and to enhance their learning, rather than letting the tech be a substitute for the teaching…and relationships as you added.

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  2. I think as outsiders some parents can forget the human connection that can be integral to the delivery of course material and the socialization aspect that happens at schools. It’s interesting because as contract negotiations happen for Saskatchewan teachers I often see comments about how students are perfectly capable of learning online through self-directed modules. Perhaps teachers will be replaced by online modules some day, they suggest.

    If anything, I think this pandemic has shown us the the relational aspect is far more important than most people think it is.

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  3. Amy, the line that resonated with you “The answer to that question depends, to be brutally frank, on how good a teacher you are” really got my wheels turning. Am I a teacher who does her job and teaches the content? Am I balancing that with inquiry based approaches that allows students independence to be the captain of their learning? Anecdotally, the best part of my job is finding the connections to previous outcomes, for adding stories that I hope help to reiterate a point, to teach something in a new way that gets them thinking differently about it. Additionally, I believe we can all “learn facts” and find a way to store that information. Personally, if my brain was full of scientific facts rather than song lyrics perhaps that would serve me more. . . but alas- the words to “Romper Room” is in my head and something about King Phillip something else for the biology classification system is somewhere in my brains abyss. I have found in my learning and teaching that through story telling, relationships and connection to peers, teachers and the content that information goes from being facts to lived lessons.

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  4. This line right here: “You cannot foster a relationship with Google, but the relationships you can develop with a teacher can last forever. It’s that innate need for human interaction or love that humans have that you simply can’t get from Google.” has never ever felt more true.
    I am currently in the middle of sending out lessons over Seesaw with the focus of “Creating Cultural Intelligence”. They are developed from a great resource from two amazing Anti-Racist Educators, and I poured my heart and soul into them. Most of the content in them could easily be googled, but NONE of the discussion questions are fit to happen over a keyboard. That human factor of using the relationship you have built with your students to have frank and painful conversations with students isn’t the same done remotely. And the Google-able content alone isn’t going to give my students all that they need to fully understand the topic. What a thoroughly 2020 dilemma. Thank you for finding a way to put it into a couple sentences that sort of say it all, your writing is always so thoughtful.

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  5. I think that there is a false understanding of what teachers actually teach in the classroom. Yes, our job is to teach towards the curriculum. But our job is so much more than just that. Great teachers are able to find the best in students, and to encourage them to live up to their greatest potential. The way that we do this is by teaching skills found in the hidden curriculum. As mentioned in your post, there are 6 essential skills that are needed in order to be successful.
    Those skills include positivity, bravery, determination, self belief, creativity, and sheer energy. The best part about it is that Google is unable to teach these skills. This is why teachers are extremely important to students.

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  6. I really enjoyed reading your post! Similar to you, I had never heard of the Loti Framework until this debate and it is something I will be looking more into as well. I could not agree with you more that “you can not foster a relationship with google, but a relationship with a teacher can last a lifetime”. This could not be more true. It makes me think of the fond memories I have from teachers I have in the past, even memories from way back in Kindergarten. Thank you for your thoughtful post!

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