Nicky Morgan: Search engines are not a ‘substitute for knowledge’

Internet search engines are not a “substitute for knowledge” and technology cannot replace good teachers, Nicky Morgan said today.

While the education secretary said she and her government were “excited” by the possibilities that technology could offer the profession, she warned that it could not be a replacement for good teaching.

“We have made it clear over the last six years in government that knowledge is the key to excellent educational outcomes,” Ms Morgan said at the education technology conference Bett in East London today.

“A rigorous curriculum, putting the right foundations in place, alongside high-quality assessments are the embodiment of that. Probably the worst attitude we can take is that access to search engines is somehow a substitute for knowledge. It isn’t.”

Her comments followed those of Sugata Mitra, who gave a speech at the same event calling for an end to the teaching of the three Rs, and suggested that the internet be taught as a discrete subject.

“Teachers see the internet as just a tool,” he told the audience, “It isn’t. It’s the biggest network we’ve ever had and is the collective knowledge and understanding of 7.5 billion people. If we make it available to a learner we change the whole game of what it is to know.”

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