Go Look it up in a Book


“Go look it up!”

I was talking to a parent one day and the parent said, “All this technology is great, but I have a house full of books and my child refuses to use them. If I ask him to look something up, he just makes a face, and walks away.”

I thought a moment before answering and this is what I said. “Do you remember when we were kids? If you were curious about something and you went to an adult and asked them a question, their response was always, ‘Go look it up.’ We didn’t want to go look it up. That took too much time. By the time we looked it up, our interest had waned and we were on to something else. Let your child use technology and they will get an immediate answer and along the way they will answer way more questions than the original question they wondered about.”

Everyone says kids today are so different than we were. In some ways they are not. We wanted immediate answers to our questions. So do kids today. The difference is, kids today who use technology get those answers immediately. They not only expect it, they do it automatically. If we deny this opportunity to students in school and insist students look it up in a book, they will quit asking questions (like we did.)

If we insist that students sit in their seats while we are teaching and never interact with what we are saying, we are reproducing the same kids of yesterday. That may be fine for the standardized test, but it is not fine for the future of our students. We do not want to produce automatons. We want to produce independent thinkers and independent doers.

While I am teaching, it is not unusual for a student to blurt out a question. It is also not unusual for another student to jump up and grab an ipad to find the answer. Can this get messy? Absolutely! A beautiful kind of messy I would never give up for the world! The world needs this. The world needs curious minds…curious minds willing to find the answers to their questions.

So next time a child asks you a question, don’t tell them to go look it up in an antiquated book. Hand them an ipad! Reward the student who jumps out of his seat to find the answer to a question while you are lecturing!

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