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Tapscott: Memorizing facts is a waste of time

Cristóbal Cobo forwarded an article from Brand Republic from earlier this year. It contains a few provocative lines from Don Tapscott, co-author of Wikinomics:

Tapscott said: “Teachers are no longer the fountain of knowledge — the internet is. Kids should learn about history but they don’t need to know all the dates.

“It is enough that they know about the Battle of Hastings, without having to memorise that it was in 1066. 

They can look that up and position it in history with a click on Google. Memorising facts and figures is a waste of time.”

Absolutely! “Download”/banking style pedagogies are made obsolete by Google and Wikipedia.

In our Leapfrog series, we have argued that education should concentrate on “upload” pedagogies, based on knowledge production by students and collaborating faculty, together with augmentations provided by a new category of community-based volunteers. Using the most advanced forms of information search engines, networks, early artificial intelligence, and the aforementioned volunteers, there is an opportunity to leapfrog education beyond any of the competition. This will require fundamental changes in the mission, structure, and curricula of education at all levels.

Time to drop memorization and refocus education on the liberal skills?

China's great leapfrog forward?

Yesterday’s New York Times Sunday Magazine had an article on educational reform in China. Whereas the United States is moving toward an educational model that displays characteristics of traditional Chinese education (especially an emphasis on testing), the Chinese are moving toward an educational model that is, in their view, more Western. This means integrating liberal education into curricula otherwise dominated by the “left-brained” fields of the sciences and mathematics.

As China moves to a whole mind approach to education, where will this leave the U.S. and other nations that aggressively pursue partial-mind education only?

Building a Leapfrog University v5.0

Arthur Harkins and I yesterday released “version 5.0” of our Building a “Leapfrog” University series. The document provides recommendations gathered from the University of Minnesota community on steps the University may take to transform into one of the top universities in the world. The recommendations generated by this activity run parallel to and complement the University’s own strategic repositioning process.

Future development of this memo series and its leapfrog concepts will now be conducted entirely online at the University’s community Wiki in “open source” tradition: https://wiki.umn.edu/twiki/bin/view/Leapfrog/WebHome

We invite your comments, corrections and additions to what we have written as well as direct input to the Leapfrog Wiki. We especially request your thoughts on the application of innovative and dynamic design principles to the University’s future

For your reference, previous release versions are available online at /leapfrog

Contact:

  • Arthur Harkins, University of MN, harki001@umn.edu, 612/743-7528
  • John Moravec, University of MN, moravec@umn.edu, 612/325-5992
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