Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Good Is Memorization In The Age Of Google?

The younger sister of a good friend of mine recently enrolled at Princeton. She has said that "in the future knowledge won't be valued as much as the ability to access information." So what role does memorization play today? Should students still have to memorize dates and poetic passages? Not according to writer and businessman Don Tapscott. In the Telegraph, Tapscott opines that in the age of wikipedia and google, schoolteachers must adjust their to curricula to teach concepts and methods of thinking. Sounds good, but what exactly is lost when we outsource memorization? Are we loosing a necessary developmental brain process? Could the ability to retain information, somehow improve our ability to have creative thought or fruitful analysis? Does the brain exercise of memorization improve other aspects of cognition? Or, does outsourcing laborious memorization free up our cognitive load and allow us to dedicate more brain power to the really exciting conceptual, technological, and creative breakthroughs?

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