The G.E.T. Debate – No Need to Debate – Just Google It

On tap for this debate the statement of … ‘Schools should not focus on teaching things that can be easily googled.’ The team of Curtis and Lisa kinda went up against the team of Daina and Jocelyn but the result was actually something I think was appropriate for this topic. Check out the the video for more.

Both groups had some solid research (click here), but while reviewing it I was not sure where the division laid in the debate (thought maybe Curtis was trying to shake them off haha). Here’s the pre-debate vote based on the way the topic was presented.

This appeared to leave many disagreeing with the notion that schools not focusing on the use of teaching things that that can easily googled. The double negative through voters and tonight’s debaters for a bit of a loop. Here are some of the points that both groups had to share.

Curtis / Lisa

  • LoTi
  • 4 Cs
  • teacher as a facilator
  • bring in outside experts
  • land based learning

Daina / Jocelyn

  • no critical thinking when just ‘google’
  • not motivated to memorize
  • need to teach to others
  • can’t ‘Google’ curriculum

Both sides were basically answering the same way based on how they interpreted the statement. This still lead to a great discussion on how Google has impacted education. Is it a tool or a crutch? Here are some points that were made …

  • Genius Hour
  • Assessment
  • Traditional Teaching
  • Project Based Learning
  • Schools in Finland

So when the dust settled and the final responses were tallied. The agree side came out on top. I think this was due to a better understanding of the debate topic and that we can agree that school needs to be more that just a googling factory.


I think the result of the debate or lack thereof was a foreshadowing of the way education needs to shift its paradigm. Similar arguments from both sides point to the fact that educational experiences need to be more than just a Google search away. Google is a great tool (sometimes we forget there are other similar tools too) only if we understand how to properly use it and apply it constructing knowledge. We talked about Genius Hours / Passion Projects. I feel these are an important way to engage students in their education and create deeper learning opportunities. I have witnessed many successful projects like those done by #eci830 Matt and Trevor for example. I have done these in a high school setting. I did these in a few math classes I have taught with a varying degree of success. Some excelled and did some amazing projects while other just wanted the notes or didn’t see the point. I think this is more of a ‘trained’ high school perspective that is perpetrated by the need to cover material. I enjoy project based learning and was able to have some great success with ancient civilization projects done by my social nine classes using Minecraft to re-create a civilization. It takes a different approach from a teacher and you need to let the learners take their own paths but provide the tools and structure necessary. It also requires a different approach to assessment which should include self and peer assessment as a way to grow and make connections. I also don’t have a problem with using Wikipedia as a source as long as it is not the only source. Usually, Wikipedia is constantly curated and mistakes that are present are probably less then the good old encyclopedias we used back in the day (which would cost a pretty penny to obtain and update). Just like Google can be extremely useful when understanding how to get the most out of that tool, I feel the same can be made for Wikipedia and any other tool for that matter including social media. Any tool is only as good as the training and skill the user has had with it.

I also found the the use of the LoTi flowchart in Curtis and Lisa’s presentation to be very interesting ( It reminded me of the TIM ( Rubric my division used to have our connected educator fill out before we focused in on the ISTE standards to self evaluate our technology integration ( I do appreciate these types of resources to help one reflect on how we are integrating technology. Are we merely substituting (like googling answers for a work sheet) or are we redefining (like solving a problem with help from experts in the field and collaborating with people across the globe)? The SAMR model is also a great way to reflect on how we are integrating technology into the classroom. Here’s a great graphic and explanation of the SAMR model (

Now it’s time to ‘Finnish’ … get it finish … I brought up the Finish approach to education and I’m always fascinated by it and sometimes it just seems to good to be true. Thanks to Melinda’s great share … I watched and learned a bit more …. but I’m really gonna need a field trip some day haha

Great video and a key component was the commitment to professional capital which is made up of decisional, social, and human capital. A dedication to this system would have to be made … as Sahlberg states that the Finish teachers would not necessarily shine in another part of the world but the system they are in allows them to see education as a complex field just like law or medicine.

Thanks for reading and if you didn’t understand my blog just google it haha – maybe you’ll find something like this –


8 thoughts on “The G.E.T. Debate – No Need to Debate – Just Google It

  1. I like that you mention a paradigm shift. I have seen examples like your Minecraft work on ancient civilizations and appreciate how much more engaged students are with this approach. I have also seen the opposite, where students are agonizing over student cards hours before a test all in the name of rote memorization. I wish I could be a fly on the wall in some of these classrooms. Are students just memorizing definitions for a matching scenario on a test, or are they using their understanding of these definitions to form a deeper understanding of the course material? I’d like to think it’s not the former.

    This can be tricky, though. I have had EAL students who prefer memorization, likely due to lower ability in the English language. As soon as questions go beyond what can be memorized and goes more into application, language becomes a huge barrier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know I talk to Xander about this and he’s pretty good at the memorizing game. It’s been good for him but not others. .But his favourite classes were yours and comp science with the creativity and the learning didn’t have a ceiling. If we didn’t put so much emphasis on grades would all learners be able to progress at own pace?


  2. Hi Dean,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog. The idea of Google not being able to teach us how to use and apply the information constructively reminded me of the time when I started learning English. Although I had no access to Google, I was taught everything that could have been Googled and when a native English speaker teacher showed up in the classroom, not one word would leave my mouth. So, I do think that after memorizing a certain amount of information, learning through experience and project based learning are crucial to make content-related higher order thinking possible (LoTi framework).
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I always appreciate your perspective. Have to invest yourself in the learning Experience to really grow and memorization seems like a small investment (although some kids good at it and told they’re smart in current system but very limiting)


  3. I always love your spin on things, Dean. I agree that your TIM model was a good parallel to our LoTi model. I am a firm believer in students having a voice and say in their learning and the structure in which they would like to learn. It is always so much more relevant in their learning and I too have seen some really great products. I agree in the statement that this needs a different assessment approach where it is more conversation based. My favourite type of assessment is having a conference with the students in which we discuss what went well, areas for growth, things they liked or didn’t like, and what is next. Very simple but very effective. Thanks for your perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed reading your post! I agree with you that as teachers we need to make educational experiences more than just a google search. Students need to be able to think critically and interact collaboratively, two things I think they would have difficulty doing on google. I saw your post on Twitter about the Mine Craft recreate an ancient society. I look forward to trying a project using mine craft in the future with my grade 4 students. I may need to ask you more specific questions about this project in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

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