So here is a post I did on a recent linkedin forum for sailing instructors.
Check this out – my 13 year old nephew recently refused to think about a home work problem and demanded that he look the answer up on the internet.
I agree with using tools at hand but understanding the fundamentals should always be a focus for us teachers.
Regarding using a chart plotter – I still think that you need to understand the fundamentals of navigation to make the best and safest use of a chart plotter. Almost gone is the excuse of what if the chart plotter craps out. On a recent bareboat charter we counted up 9 GPS units on the boat which counted all the iphones and ipads on board.
NauticEd’s Bareboat Charter Master Rank requires that the student pass both our paper charting fundamentals course Coastal Navigation AND our Electronic Navigation course. It’s our way of dealing with the changing world – teaching the use of tools but also requiring an understanding of fundamentals.