In reviewing some of the highlights from the Atlantic's First Draft of History even last week, I'm still impressed by something Google CEO Eric Schmidt said. He was talking about how the Internet will continue to change the way we, you know, [enter any verb].
But I wasn't expecting him to touch on education. And what he said made a lot of sense.
Schmdit was describing how we're less than a decade away from living in permanent wifi hot spots with our web surfing phones or computers. Inasmuch as the Internet is close to the sum of all human knowledge, that means we'd never be more than a search away from any piece of information. Interviewer James Fallows asked him how our teachers should incorporate that glut of information into classrooms. Schmidt responded that, well, they should teach more Google.
"I was required to memorize the counties of Virginia," Schmidt said of his childhood education. "Why did I have to do that?" Because rote memorization is, and has long been, at the heart of early education. But Schmidt questioned whether that makes sense in an age where, to take his example, a full list of the counties of Virginia (and their population, exact area, map, established date, etymology, and FIPS code) is literally a one-second search away, here.