I like this article. I like things that are straightforward and invite discussion. I have to say that I am still on the side of no “cheating”. I think the problem might be in the way we test or mark success not in the way students get their info on test day. If students need to gather their information from other sources during an evaluation of student understanding, then all we have established is that they have smart friends or good resources. Both are which are advantageous in any field but the evaluation does not tell us what the student understands and comprehends and is able to apply on his own. At the end of the day, you’re testing their knowledge not that of the group. As I said, maybe our testing needs to change but I still want to know if the student has learned and understood rather than if he can ask a friend or google. I think it has absolute practicality in the setting of a classroom to use groups and technology as learning tools but when I put that into the context of paramedicine, those resources may not be available on the side of the road or in someone’s home. I can’t help but think that there are a lot of topics and skills that they need to have a full understanding of and be able to apply or teach or talk about it without the use of aids. I for one would be horrified to have a medic show up and say “just a sec, I need to phone a friend/google this/you tube that skill” I believe in having resources available to reference, especially with those high acuity- low volume calls. I believe that is also where continuing education comes in. Today’s students (generalization here) need to know that yes the learning process involves collaboration and research and using available resources. Also that the learning should continue after the classroom. But they also need to understand that at some point they need to stand on their own feet and draw on their own knowledge and understanding. If we create a generation of people who just use other people’s information, then we end up slowing knowledge progression down the road. Especially if students don’t build on what they are gathering which seems to be a trend I have noticed in the past couple of years. Students grab for the lowest bar and are comfortable with that. Collaboration and research and self directed learning force students to go a little deeper into the information if only because their classmates are doing so and they feel obligated to keep up.
I see value in it for some courses like communications or wellness or even patient assessment. Where discussion and dialogue and research play important roles and are part of the learning objectives. Active participation is knowledge gathering and understanding sharing might be the “testing” in this instance.
To end, I like this quote from the article;
“Learning how to deal with uncertainty… with that feeling of not being sure what the right answer is and deciding anyway – that is the critical step towards knowing.”