Why should anyone have to memorize boring facts? Wouldn't it be a better use of valuable time to learn higher skills such as problem solving abilities or the understanding of concepts and generalizations instead? While this may sound good in theory, it falls flat in practice. The problem is the huge number of facts that must be known in order to solve a complex problem. Looking up every single fact is prohibitively time consuming; if the necessary facts are not well memorized, we tend to make do with whatever facts we happen to think we know, and to ignore all others. An example from history may illustrate how this works:
Before the United States won its independence from Great Britain, the colonists in Boston had a great deal of trouble with the British solders pushing them around. We remember the Boston Massacre, in particular, as an example of this. But let us broaden our perspective and consider how the colonists must have appeared to the British soldiers. The colonists were, after all, an unruly mob of vandals and were probably in need of disciplinary action. The Boston Tea Party comes to mind, where they deliberately destroyed British property. The British soldiers, remembering this recent event, may have realized they were dealing with a lawless and destructive group and adjusted their use of force accordingly. What do you think?
There may be different opinions regarding the validity of the generalization presented in the preceding paragraph; but whether or not the generalization is valid, the paragraph itself is a distortion of history! Did you catch it? As a careful history student will have noticed, The Boston Tea Party (1773) happened after the Boston Massacre (1770), not before, as that paragraph implies. Generalizations may be true or false; but unless they are judged by the facts to which they relate, there is no way to tell which are which. Further, if we do not have those facts memorized, we are liable to make mistakes when we choose what to believe and what not to. We might occasionally make up our minds without bothering to check critical details. It appears to be very important that we have a large base of trusted facts, well memorized, if we hope to understand our world correctly.
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The system which will soon be made available on this site teaches: counting, addition facts, and multiplication facts. Subtraction facts and division facts are best learned by memorizing addition and multiplication facts. Artificial intelligence is used to track individual student's strengths and weakness so effort can be concentrated where it is needed most. Good performance is rewarded by short video game sequences to keep students attentive and motivated!
U.S. Patent 4,611,996 (applying A.I. and game rewards to teaching times tables and other math facts.)