PRE-DEBATE: What’s the point?

This week, tomorrow in fact, we have our second debate of ECI830. We will be watching two groups go head to head in a discussion over whether or not schools should be putting focus in the classroom on things that can be googled.

Coming into this debate, I have some clear preconceptions that have have taken shape over the course of my previous two Ed Tech courses. I don’t really see the point of drilling information into our students, and assessing for how well we drilled that information into their brains.

Everything we know can be searched, referenced and cross  examined in a matter of seconds. While factors like internet availability and copyright certainly remain factors in differentiating who has access to what information, knowledge is proliferating. Sources like creative commons and school of open are making content readily available to learners with internet.

I believe it is not so much knowledge that schools should be focusing on, but rather how to access and evaluate the overabundance of sources of information that are available. As a peer of mine from ECI 832 pointed out in his vlog, we are bombarded with an estimated 10 000 media messages per day…


Information is clearly out there. What I believe we need to do at schools is help our students develop the skills they will need to sift through the information out there. In the age of fake news, where there is no hesitation to put misinformation out there, dressed in all the trappings of formal news, we really need to know how to evaluate sources.

And this is where we start to talk about media literacy.An article on common sense media identifies these critical skills as being encompassed by media literacy:

  • Thinking critically,
  • Be a smart consumer,
  • Recognize point of view,
  • Create their own media responsibly,
  • Identify the role of digital media in culture,
  • Understand the creator’s goal

I believe that these are the kinds of skills we need to be focusing on at schools, and we need to start in earlier grades. Our kids will start to access these materials, whether its at school or in the comfort of their own homes. They will need to be able to lend a critical eye to information and knowledge that elbows its way to the front of the queue using well placed visual effects and intentionally evocative, attention grabbing headlines.

Looking forward to our debate tomorrow, and I wonder if media literacy will in fact find its way into the discussion.

Thanks for reading!







on “PRE-DEBATE: What’s the point?
2 Comments on “PRE-DEBATE: What’s the point?
  1. I’m looking forward to this debate, Joe. Thanks for pre-identifying some of the really crucial aspects of this argument – especially in getting to the idea around teaching content to students vs. teaching students how to learn, how to learn (including how to consume critically), and how to create. Of course, what skills and content are necessary to learn, to learn well, and to learn critically – well, those are the big questions, and I can’t wait to hear the arguments set forth.

    Thanks for posting!

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