Category Archives: ETAD class

What do you need to know before you Google?

Do you have to know what you are looking for in order for Google to have the answers?

All I can say is Wow!  What an intense evening of debate for our EC&I 830 class. Both teams dug into the topics and shared points that made me think twice about whether or not schools should be teaching anything that can be googled?

Screenshot of Google Search

Do you need to?

It’s an interesting question and one that deserves more than just a passing thought.  We are educators and what, how and why we teach the way we do matters to our students.  It impacts how they think about the world.  

 Both teams raised valid concerns that made me think about what we know and what we take for granted in the age of instant access.  While I still come back to the idea that it’s not about the technological tool but rather how you use it to encourage deeper learning. The points raised made me think about when automaticity is appropriate and necessary to lay the framework for deeper, critical thinking.  And just because we can google it, doesn’t mean that we should.

I have to admit I was swayed by the debate statement.  Should we be teaching anything that can be googled… but perhaps the question really is should we be assessing things that can be googled?  To me it’s not so much how you access information, it’s what you do with it once you have it.  

Heick’s article, “How Google impacts the way students think” raised several key points that made me wonder…..

  • When we are curious do we stop at the first website that google gives us?
  • How many people move beyond the first link?
  • Why do some move beyond the first link and continue to dig deeper while others are content with the first explanation?

Have you ever stopped to think about why you stop at the first link you find?

→ If I’m just looking for a confirmation of the concept then I tend to stop if the first link confirms the knowledge that I have.

→ If I’m truly researching a topic, I follow one link to the next until I feel I’ve reached my goal that or I’ve been distracted by various links along the way…. I wonder how much of my research is shaped by Google’s knowledge of me?

Speaking of which I came across this Knowledge Graph Video, which talks about how Google is attempting to make even more connections for you when you search.


map with car
Fidler Jan Morguefile



Heick also asked if we think of google as a destination rather than just part of the journey? As if Googling is easier than thinking?

Does Google as Heick suggested promote information independence as opposed to knowledge interdependence?

It takes me back to the question that students often ask….

pen and paer
Cohdra – Morguefile

If I have to cite everything I find then when is it actually my words that come through?

 While helping students and people in general understand the value of intellectual property and giving credit where it’s due, is an issue that needs to be addressed… that’s a different post.
Does googling promote the development of your own voice?
Who is responsible for weaving the knowledge connections together?
When do all those separate bits and bytes of data become knowledge
or evidence of learning?

It’s the ongoing conversation I had with students when we talked about how they could share the story of their learning.  It’s up to the student to analyze, evaluate and create meaningful connections.  The points they choose to cite, the order they share the information in and the stories they connect them to in their life — that’s what we need to learners to think about. So as one of my classmates aptly pointed out, just how much information do you need to know in your brain to actively understand all of the information we encounter everyday.

Just pause for a moment and think about all of the knowledge and skills you have stored in your brain that’s reached a level of automaticity — you don’t have to think about it you just know it….

  • Did you have to think about where the letters were on the keyboard to type your response?
  • If you see a red octagon…. What does that mean?
  • Can you read these words?  If you are a fluent reader, chances are you didn’t have to stop and think about decoding the words. You know your letters and sight words.


Do you wonder just how ingrained our learning is?

Try the Stroop Test for a quick reflection on just how deeply words are encoded into our brain. You can try out the Stroop Test here – follow the instructions and reflect on just how much our brains are programmed to respond in certain ways.

    • While the Stroop test measures interference in the types of information your brain is receiving, it’s interesting to think about how many skills and pieces of knowledge we take for granted.

As an interesting side note, I spent Wednesday in a Diversity Education Teacher inservice and we were learning about executive functioning of the brain.  Our Ed Psych, shared that when we know our basic math facts and letters (i.e. we’ve learned them to the point of auotmaticity), when we need to access that knowledge the back part of our brain goes to work.  For learners that struggle with basic facts that aren’t automatic the brain activates parts of our frontal lobe to try and help.  Eventually students can figure it out but the costs of accessing and processing the info is much higher.


The video, How the Internet is Changing Your Brain – highlights unless we actively work with information in our short term memory it is not going to be encoded into our long term memory.  “The more we use Google, the less likely we are to retain what we see.” (para. 3). Or is it really the rise of of Connectivism.  The idea that learning takes place not only in the connections that we make with information internally in our own brains based on the experiences we have, but that “learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing” (Wikipedia – Connectivism).

In the end, we know that learners today have more access to information than ever before through tools that can make knowledge acquisition almost instantaneous.  The true art of teaching and learning will be to find a balance.  As Danielle’s blog post noted, whether it’s searching online or using our memory, the task or reason needs to be purposeful if we are going to fully engage the student in making meaningful and lasting knowledge connections.  After all, it’s just data unless we actually make meaning from it.

If we are assessing on questions that can be googled or looked up in a book, are we really assessing students on what they know or on their research skills?  Is it really Google that’s causing us to have shorter attention spans and transfer less knowledge to long term memory or is it a the evolution of a connective technology that increases our access and our cultural learning practices haven’t caught up?

What do you think?….did you just google the topic:)


The stories that bring us together

I’m excited to be joining EC&I 830 as it’s been a bit of a last minute surprise.  You see I’m an Profile 1ETAD student looking to finish up my 9th and 10th classes by the end of the summer.  I was struggling to find electives at the U of S for spring and summer session, so I reached out to Alec for course ideas.  He mentioned the possibility of EC&I 830:)  And so began a fun process of applying through the SUGA agreement to have this course approved.  Fast forward from March to this morning at 7:30 a.m. when I checked my email and found out I was in the class but I’d missed the first one.

So I’m very happy to be here working on my 9th class.  I’ve also started my 10th class in the ETAD program an independent study on leadership in online environments.  Seems like when it rains it pours… or snows as it was today in north east Sask.

I’m married to my high school sweetheart…. which means we’ve been together for 23 years. He’s a shop teacher, a DJ and currently plays in two bands.  We have 1 daughter who’s 7 and she has lots of energy:)

I’m in my 17th year of education and for the past 4 years I’ve worked as a Learning Consultant for the North East School Division.  That means I work with teachers from Pre-K to Grade 12 in almost all aspects of education.  My first 13 years included teaching high school biology, science, photography/video editing/21st Century skills class (where I first met Alec when he Skyped into my classroom).  I spent a few years as a Learning Based Resource Facilitator which then merged into a role as a Differentiated Instruction Facilitator.

Here’s an example of some of the things we used to work on when I was in the classroom.

My interest in Ed Tech started in undergrad classes and continued to evolve into my classroom.  When the opportunity to work with the SaskEd WBLRD projects presented itself I jumped at the chance to learn Dreamweaver and build online resources.  I’ve been through several evolutions of web design tools.  I’ve taught in a 1:1 hybrid environment – truly my favorite teaching experience.  I’ve co-taught through digital tools with a teacher in a different town.  So learning about social media and digital technology are truly some of my favourite things!  Occasionally,  the digital realm finds its way into my Learning Consultant role:)

In my spare time I’m a Managing Executive Stylist with Color By Amber a home based eco-friendly, socially responsible jewelry company. Since I’ve joined the business world my desire to better understand social media has evolved. I’m curious not only about how I can use social media to support my business, but rather how can I use social media to build resilient leaders and support my team of 90 plus stylists nation wide.

I just finished my ETAD portfolio and you are welcome to take a look around.  I look forward to meeting all of you online and am excited to learn from all of your experiences.

So that’s a bit of my story, can’t what to hear what your story is:)

If you’d like to stay connected online, here are a few of my social media connections:

  • Twitter – @Stephanie_Pipke

  • Facebook – Stephanie Painchaud

  • Professional Facebook Account – Mrs. Pipke-Painchaud

  • Instagram – @Stephs_Style_Stories

  • YouTube Channel

  • Pinterest

  • What’s Your Story with Steph & Tracy

    • We all have a story that shapes our lives.  What’s your story? started as a joint venture with my friend Tracy as a way for us to share what we’ve learned and inspire others to continue learning and writing their own stories.  Because what you do today will change your story tomorrow!  Please note that this is in it’s very early stages and is truly a work in progress…. I just need some time to work on it:)