Knowledgeable vs. Knowledge-able

I thought this was such a great topic for a discussion. The whole idea of transferring from knoweldgeable humans to being knowledge-able (memorizing vs. being able to look up information). I find myself caught on both sides of this debate-in two ways. Before even deciding if I am for being knoweldgeable or knowledge-able, I must first dive into the fact number 1. Being 23, I am in the age group that is divided by technology. We have always had computers, but nothing as extensive as what exists now. During elementary, middle school, and even high school I was expected to be knowledgeable. During undergrad and now in graduate school, I am expected to be not only knowledgeable but knowledge-able. I find it interesting that we get to see the turn-living history. So in a way, this debate has become part of us, whether we know it or not. Due to this, I think that is why we found ourselves debating in class over which way is the best, because we were all brought up at different times, different households, just plain different. 

I do think there does need to be a balance between the two. We need to have a base of common knowledge and knowledge that will get us through daily life and all that, that entails. But at the same time, I find myself struggling with the ability to do research on the interent and have it be legit research. I find that while I am subbing, students are able to look information up so quickly and be very assertive and strong in their research and opinions that they form and gather from doing the research. I find that we are having our students do more research than the regular once a year research paper. At least in art class, we are having students research for almost every single project. We start them with some knowledge, a base, and we have them dive deeper into what they are interested in. I find a higher learning occurs here. I know that for myself, I already mentioned once, that being knowledge-able is a challenge for me, but what I learn tends to stick longer than what a teacher is lecturing to me about in class. I think it is important, as teachers and future teachers that we find a happy balance that is not just comfortable for us, but what benefits TODAY’S, digitally advanced, students the best.

Going to the extreme of being knowledge-able, will it ever get to a point where teachers are no longer needed? Where students will all be home schooled and taught from a computer where they are seeing online lectures and looking up all the information they need and spending tax dollars for school and money that would go towards school to traveling around the world to see all the history and information they are learning and looking up? Where will technology take us?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jnettes8
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 13:47:43

    As I was reading your blog I found myself nodding my head in agreement throughout the entire thing. I also feel that there has to be a balance in being knowledgeable and knowledge-able. No matter how knowledge-able you are it will still be beneficial to you to have memorized your multiplication facts or the countries in the world for example. You may not always have the time in a conversation to look something like that up. However, if you do not know how to quickly access information you do not know, you are also at a disadvantage. I also thought your point about how when we were in elementary school, curriculum was very knowledgeable based, and now we are switching to a more knowledge-able based curriculum. And I guess that is why our definition of being literate also changes.
    Your ending questions are also very intriguing. Who knows where technology will take us, children are learning so much more quickly and efficiently than adults are… will they need us to teach them anything??


  2. Steve Ransom
    Feb 25, 2010 @ 17:09:19

    Excellent thoughts, Ashley. I don’t think anyone is arguing for throwing out being knowledgeable for the sake of being knowledge-able… more that in an information-rich age, we need to be much better and finding, evaluating, and creating information than ever before. It does reduce the need for so much memorization as in the past, but knowledge is certainly still needed. Probably the biggest shift that is still struggling to happen is that knowledge isn’t something simply recalled and regurgitated. It is something that the learner makes meaning from in personal, relevant ways. Only then does the knowledge really “stick”. As teachers, we need to help our students make meaning out of information not simply remember it. Giving them the opportunity to find, evaluate, and create with information is a step in the right direction. Being resourceful has taken on new meaning in the information age.

    As for the reduced need for teachers in the future, it’s my thought that we will need teachers more than ever. Teaching will indeed look different from what we know in the traditional sense, though. Students are very savvy with technology, but they still need a great deal of professional guidance at becoming skilled learners.


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