I want to begin by acknowledging that I am prone to hyperbole. That
said, I have just finished reading a profound analysis of the effect of
the internet and digitized technology on the human mind and more
directly and disturbingly, the brain. Can you say "neuro-plasticity?"
Suffice to say that with each *intellectual technology that comes along
(it would be inaccurate to use the word "adopt" since it is essentially an
unconscious process) we sacrifice one thing as we gain another.
technology, no tool is ever neutral and we make a serious mistake when
we accept the assertion that is otherwise. This is not to say that a new intellectual technology doesn't offer us advantages or options that were not possible prior to its introduction, simply that trade-offs are inherent.
(* Intellectual technologies are those that affect the mind, the brain, and the ways
in which we view the world. Examples include: the map, the clock, the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, the television, the computer.)
According to Carr, and a small army of neuro-scientists, computer
scientists, psychologists, and researchers, we are forfeiting our
ability to think deeply, to reflect, to develop wisdom and judgment by
immersing ourselves in the fragmented, hyper-active, superficial medium
of the internet.
The author isn't attempting to turn back the clock or advocate
abandoning computers and the internet. Rather he is looking to encourage
awareness about the trade-offs, and to encourage us (particularly
educators) to find ways to stem the tide and preserve some of the "old"
ways of thinking.
Whether or not you decide to read it, I think it is going to generate
controversy and conversation in education circles, and it should.