The importance of committing facts to memory

19 May

In an article in last week’s New York Times, we find this:

The director of Google’s education apps group, Jonathan Rochelle, touched on that idea in a speech at an industry conference last year. Referring to his own children, he said: “I cannot answer for them what they are going to do with the quadratic equation. I don’t know why they are learning it.” He added, “And I don’t know why they can’t ask Google for the answer if the answer is right there.”

Regular readers know that I think this fundamentally misguided. Knowledge remains and will remain essential to negotiating the world. To see why let’s turn to another article in the Times: “If Americans Can Find North Korea on a Map, They’re More Likely to Prefer Diplomacy.”

Here’s the map of where the surveyed individuals placed North Korea.

nkorea map

According to the Times:

Geographic knowledge itself may contribute to an increased appreciation of the complexity of geopolitical events.

By the way the quadratic equation is not that hard to learn.

3 Responses to “The importance of committing facts to memory”

  1. Kathy H May 19, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    Ask Johnathan what would happen if the Internet suddenly did not work. Never discount knowledge. It leads to thinking, which leads to progress.

  2. Enrique Guerra-Pujol May 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    That’s how I learned the multiplication table


  1. Learning facts | peakmemory - May 22, 2017

    […] I am feeling prophetic. The other day I blogged about Jonathan Rochelle’s anti-memory claim. […]

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