Posted by: meredithalawrence | November 19, 2012

Where is the Conversation?

A recent New York Times article, published on November 1 of this year, entitled “Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say” echoes exactly what we have been saying in class the past few weeks and what Carr argues in The Shallows: Technology is changing our brains and is generally making attention spans shorter. The article creates a conversation in which many teachers note how their students are unable to stay focused in class, how they as teachers feel increasing pressure to be entertaining and how it often seems as though there is less depth in written student work. Carr of course explains how when we are online our constant need to make decisions about what to click on distracts us from paying deep attention and how we begin to crave the constant clicking and decision making when we are offline and how this appears to be shorting society’s collective attention span.

Both of these concepts are ones we have discussed extensively in class and about which we have seen and heard of a myriad of studies and examples, but nowhere have I seen a discussion about these potential problems with the people who are most at risk: today’s youth and those in older generations who have not noticed the shift. The changes aren’t going anywhere, and neither is technology, but why aren’t those raising the concern making sure that everyone, and especially the next generation, is at least talking about the potentially monumental effects of technology on our brains?

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