Is Pluto a planet or not?

When I went to school Pluto was a planet, then in 2006 there was controversy as it was declared that Pluto was no longer a planet. Now there is a movement pushing for Pluto to once again be declared a planet.

What do we teach our students? This is just one example of how fast information or knowledge changes. In these Internet enabled times with google and wikipedia we no longer need to know as much, it is more important that our students (and ourselves) know how to find information, how to sort out the good from the bad and how to use and process the information.

Learning how to Learn

I think the whole purpose of school should be teaching students how to learn independently. Rather than teaching students facts or information we should be teaching students how to find information, how to evaluate and cross check the information they find and how to use the information. This is much more useful than teaching facts that most likely will change or teaching knowledge that can easily be found elsewhere.

Some of the ways we do this at IGBIS include:

  • modeling how to find the answers to questions we have or the students have
  • explicitly teaching students how to search on the Internet
  • teaching student how to evaluate websites and cross check information
  • giving students opportunities to use the information they find in real life situations
  • giving students time to explore and play (both on devices and in the real world)
  • using class procedure like ‘Ask 3 before me’ where students have to show they have either searched for an answer online, found a youtube clip on the subject or asked a friend before they ask a teacher for help.
  • encouraging a culture where it is OK to say I don’t know and asking for help

On a regular day I search the Internet 5 – 10 times finding answers to questions from teachers and students that I don’t know. The more I search, the more I learn and the better I get at searching and quickly finding the information that I need to know.

Teaching students how to learn is a much more sustainable and a skill that will benefit them their entire lives.

Geoff Derry,
Technology Integration Specialist

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