Content vs Skills: Which should be encoraged?

I was playing my regular end of term game of Jeopardy yesterday with a class. I use it as a fun, revision activity where most of the categories are topics which we have studied over the past 2 terms. For the sake of fairness I always have to ask students not to use their dictionaries (they are second language learners) and also not to look over their notes. The problem with allowing dictionaries is that often use their phones /dictionaries, are now connected to the internet and they have numerous applications like calculators and conversion charts. I have labeled this as cheating in the past.

But now reflecting on the activity is it really necessary not to allow these tools to be used. Most of the students in my class had their DER school laptops sitting o their tables and smart phones in their pockets.If a student is able to find the correct information within the 15 seconds allocated, whether by using their memory or using an electronic tool the answer should still count.

It is an interesting debate. How many jobs these days and life skills require a quick search of the internet or mobile phone and how many require people to regurgitate memorized facts?

Sure there are advantages to not allowing these devices to be used like demonstrating knowledge and recall. But when half my class are new students who missed the content covered last term, then they are immediately at a disadvantage. Just a thought. I will allow let students use any device at their disposal next term and see how it changes the game.


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