Interestingly, externalized memory storage still requires us to employ internal recall. Even though you may not be able to recall your partner’s number by rote, you can certainly recall where it is stored and how to access it.
When individuals know they can access facts externally, they typically display weak recall of those facts, but strong recall for the location of those facts. Conversely, when the same individuals know they cannot access facts externally, they typically display strong recall of the facts themselves.
In both instances, something has been memorized. It’s simply that the nature of the 'thing' will change based on the attendant technology.
SO NOW THEN …
Technology is not killing our memory -- it’s simply changing the form of memory we rely on.
For teachers, then, the question isn’t what impact technology is having on our student’s memory. Instead, it’s what type of memory do you want your students to exercise?
Sometimes the answer might be recognition.
For instance, if you’re interested in students recognizing novel math equations, you may want to embrace external technology storage.
Sometimes the answer might be recall.
For instance, if you’re interested in students applying math equations, you may want to forego technology in lieu of other, more ‘traditional’ approaches.
As always, context should drive strategy.