What is most important?

We hear a lot about helping our students develop problem solving skills and helping them to be resourceful when they hit rough patches.

Just last week a teacher I was working with asked me a question to which I didn’t know the answer.  I quickly opened up a window and started to search for an answer.  She commented how it seemed to come so naturally – knowing what to search for, where to start and how to sift through all of the responses quickly to find something that works, ultimately learning something new.  This search took us less than 3 minutes and we had figured out how to do what she asked about and tried it! (with success)

But it got me thinking – these skills are really important.  And developing/using these skills is critical in our current world where the way you do something today can change drastically tomorrow based on a software update, new hardware or new product that is released.

Then this weekend I read a great article from FreeCodeCamp on Medium: Google Not, Learn Not: Why Searching Can Sometimes Be Better Than Knowing by Jeremy Gunter.

I’m often asked by teachers (and even other tech coaches in our district) how I remember all the things.  This is the truth… I don’t.  But I know where to look and HOW to find what I need to do all the things.  AND I know where to learn more.

That teacher I talked about above – she told me how much she wished she had these skills.  I think we can all develop them, but they take practice and we have to use them or our skills will atrophy (more likely, technology of the search will continue to change and we will be left behind).

I think it’s critical that we help our students become this type of learner.  This is so important – when they encounter something they didn’t experience yet, they need a plan of attack and a way to approach the problem.  Searching and knowing how to sift through what we find and use it to make something new is a critical set of skills!

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