We are on a mission to raise the stock value of factual knowledge.
Content knowledge - factually-rich content knowledge - has not had a fair go in education over the last 40 or so years. Since the resurfacing of the progressive education movement in the 1970s, its stock value has been on a steady decline.
In an age where the education zeitgeist is consumed by a preoccupation with so-called '21st century soft skills' and process-driven curriculum, knowledge of facts and ideas about history, geography, science, literature, arts and culture hold little value indeed.
Public discourse is awash with cries, from industry and education reform organisations, for curriculum overhauls that further increase time spent on rehearsal of problem solving processes like thinking critically and creatively. The emphasis on these generic skills complements the widely pontificated view that 'in the age of Google, we don’t have to actually know anything'. The product of these two ideas is a dramatically reduced amount of emphasis and time spent on systematically building a broad and dynamic general knowledge over the primary school years. This widespread curriculum model is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the mind learns, how it comprehends what it reads, and what it requires for fuel to think in complex ways about a given topic.
The systemic dismissal of content knowledge over recent decades, traded for time spent rehearsing apparently transferable skills, is directly sabotaging the herculean efforts to cultivate critical and creative thinking and problem solving.
Along with a growing number of organisations joining the knowledge movement, we want to illuminate the body of research from cognitive science showing that our potential to think and problem solve '21st-Century-style' depends directly on the quality of the store of relevant knowledge that we hold in our long-term memories, available at a millisecond’s notice, integral to the thinking event. Google cannot circumnavigate that fact.
Knowledge is the energy source of the progressive thinking skills we so desperately seek; it cannot be discarded in pursuit of them. Knowledge is the cognitive Mothership.