Google-Proof your Questions: A new use for Bloom's Taxonomy

The internet has revolutionized information collection. The answer to virtually any question or problem is at our fingertips. Google has made this possible.

While I am a great admirer of Google and an avid user of its products, in a way, Google has made my life as a teacher a LOT more difficult. Let me explain. In the "old days" (that would be pre-internet) when a teacher assigned a worksheet with a series of questions on it students had a few options to get the answers.

1. Ask mom.
2. If mom doesn't know, ask Dad.
3. If Dad doesn't know look it up in the textbook.
4. If the answer isn't in the textbook, give up.

Now I am a teacher. When I give worksheets with questions on them my students immediately type the entire question into the omniscient search box on Google and in an instant, they have their answer. They have expended absolutely zero energy or effort to find the answer and as a result will not remember the question or the answer.

There are two solutions to this problem:

1. Ban the use of Google by all school-aged children.
2. Learn to write "Google-proof" questions.

Got your interest? Check out the rest of the post on my blog:

Tags: Bloom's, Evaluation, Google, Questions, Synthesis, Taxonomy

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I was at a NECC workshop some years ago and one of the participants asked the presenter how to prevent plagiarism with such easy access to information on the internet and his answer has stuck with me for years..."give them assignments they can't plagiarize". I think that fits into your google-proof questions. If the questions are higher level--synthesis, analysis and evaluation the answers are going to e harder to find. Good luck in your efforts!!

I also shun 'research' projects (K-6) where the information is already there. Better not ask me to do a powerpoint on pandas!! In 5 minutes you can read all about them from a dozen different sites--
Thanks for the comments, Nancy. I only posted this last night and have already have a strong response. Unfortunately, many are misunderstanding my point and think that I am in favor of banning the use of Google by students. The point is, like you said, to encourage plagiarism and Google proof assignments that require students to think!
Just to raise rabble there is a 3rd solution.

3. Accept that finding information via Google is just as valid as finding it anywhere else.

Now that said, I am a huge advocate of higher-level questioning and the using inquiry in the classroom as it truly does make students think. Google (and the similar textbook hunt) do not.
I don't think John wanted to discredit Google (or any book or website for that matter). Just wanted to make his kids think. I guess if the answer is that easy to find then it's not worth asking the question. Hmmm?
Agreed. Let's discredit the use of "worksheets," nasty little wastes of paper if you ask me. Students need authentic learning experiences that respond to their individual needs and interests.
I would also like to add that in today's age where the amount of information is growing exponentially (factual and other). The ability access information is an important "new" skill. More so now in our digital age than ever before.

I would say that there is a valid uses of questions answered through google. The idea is that students must then vet information as to it's truthfulness (analysis and evaluation).

For instance, students might use to write a paper or a powerpoint (google holds it as the top site, but most people don't know how google ranks sites). Thus what they have failed to learn is that particular site is revisionist history and run by the White Supremecist group Stormfront. (it is noted at the bottom of the page as the hoster of the site.)

So, questions that have answers readily found by google can in fact point to higher order thinking of Blooms taxonomy.
Good point. While speaking of Bloom's taxonomy have you all seen the work of Andrew Church at Education Origami? He has taken many of today's tools and using Bloom's made rubrics to go along with the tools. Good stuff to use to bring your blogs, wikis, searching, skyping, to a new level.



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