The Power of Memorization: Good or Evil?

Schools have long been a factory for memorizing facts, but in the age of Google, should be really be memorizing stuff anymore? This week we debated on whether schools should be teaching anything that can be Googled.

I personally disagree with this, but not entirely. We should aim towards teaching students how to find this content online, just like we used to teach them how to find it in an encyclopedia. They might be able to search stuff, but that does not guarantee they can find what they need! We need to give the students these tools so they can find their content when inquiring using Google and the internet.

Also, memorization is not evil! It is actually a very powerful cognitive tool that we all will have to use in our lives. Due to this, I believe it is important to utilize that and train our ability to memorize. In math this is a big topic because memorization can slow your ability to “discover” and be creative, instead referencing your memory. However if you can begin with the discovery technic, and afterwards offer something memory based, these can be powerful together. Discovery is not complete by itself, and Memory alone does not offer a means for full understanding, but together they can be an incredible cognitive tool.

This also brings up the idea of multiplication table memorization. Personally, I still think students should be memorizing portions of this still. Mainly this is for on the fly referencing: aka head math. I believe everyone is capable of head math and they just need to work at it, but this memorization of the multiplication tables is a big aspect of that. This might be a dated opinion however, as I realize the need for this might be dwindling in the real world.

Lastly, if we aren’t teaching anything that can be Googled, students will never learn certain subjects. Lets take French and foreign languages. Without memorization, good luck learning a new language, they will be attached to google translate if they ever travel! There are many things you cna access through Google that might not be super helpful in realtime for students, and that is where there is still content that needs to be taught form the schools.

I generally am in the middle, I think we need to alter our content and teaching techniques, but I do believe we should still teach a lot of information that is Googleable.

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