Does the use of technology have a deleterious effect on learning? Is it possible that we are being “dumbed down” by the internet? Didn’t the advent of television cause all manner of social ills?
Even if you disagree with the major emphasis of this article from Nicholas Carr it’s worth reflecting on what you are missing out on when you are engaged by what her regards as the “dark side”. It’s the age old bookshelf problem expanded, by taking on more and more complexity in the way we operate, (adding more volumes to our life’s bookshelf), what is happening to the other previously treasured aspects of our life, (the dog-eared books which shaped the way we are). As with anything at any point in time, balance is the best option, however too often where the point of equilibrium lies can only be judged looking back.
ALTHOUGH the worldwide web has been around for just 20 years, it is hard to imagine life without it. It has given us instant access to vast amounts of information, and we’re able to stay in touch with friends and colleagues more or less continuously.
But our dependence on the internet has a dark side. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the net, with its constant distractions and interruptions, is turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers.
Kerrie Smith provides another perspective on Nicholas Carr’s article pointing to a couple of the inevitable counterpoints to his point of view raising the important point that just as with television and before that radio and no doubt books etc, these advances are not going to go away. Our job in education is to both use the functionality these changes add at the same time educating about the upsides and downsides of adopting these approaches. Despite the best intentions though we will no doubt have to contend with views similar to those related to television from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune of 1987.
Oh and for another dose of tongue in cheek humour check out Steve Blank’s Memo From The Monastery.