Another dot in the blogosphere?

Google-proof questions/exams?

Posted on: December 4, 2009

The Electric Educator blogged about Google-Proof Questioning: A New Use for Bloom’s Taxonomy. Like me, you might have been drawn to the Google-proofing part of his blog topic.

After reading his entry, I concluded that he made one excellent point, but skimmed on another in the process.

He suggested how teachers could use a job aid based on Bloom’s Taxonomy (below) to create questions that promoted higher order thinking (HOT). While Google enabled learners to search for information and factoids, they still had to decide on their worth and create something new from them. In other words, technology like Google allows learners to focus on HOT.

BTW, the job aid that the Electric Educator highlighted was the same one I used earlier this semester in my ICT course to show my teacher trainees how to write good specific instructional objectives. You use it outwardly from the centre by selecting a cognitive learning outcome, a measurable verb and an example activity.

So what did he “miss”? I thought that his blog title, while catchy, might have implied a method for teachers to fight the Googling behaviour of students or for teachers to create questions where Google could not help at all.

He did not say that, of course. In fact, Google is integral to the learning process. Google helps with the lower order thinking and tasks. But it is the teacher’s lesson design, scaffolding and overall pedagogy combined with effort on the part of students that help students think creatively and critically.

In other words, educators should WANT students to use Google (and other Internet resources). But we should also model and teach skills of analysis, evaluation and synthesis so that students internalise these methods.

In fact, I’d like to see us go as far as the Danes who have trialed the open use of the Internet during exams! Here’s a quote from that BBC article:

The teachers also think the nature of the questions make it harder to cheat in exams. Students are no longer required to regurgitate facts and figures. Instead the emphasis is on their ability to sift through and analyse information.

Minister for education in Denmark, Bertel Haarder, says: “Our exams have to reflect daily life in the classroom and daily life in the classroom has to reflect life in society.

Different context, same themes: Teach them to think. Realign learning to mirror real life.

2 Responses to "Google-proof questions/exams?"

Thanks for extending the discussion. You have clearly identified the purpose and intent of my post. I chuckle at some of the comments that people have left for me as they think I am in favor of banning Google from schools. That is certainly not the case!

Keep up the good work.


Thanks for taking the trouble to visit and comment, John. And for provoking people into thinking!


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