Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Plasticity, or, is the Medium the Message?

This article from the Atlantic asks how Google and the Internet are actively rewiring the way humans process information. It is definitely worth reading, and I apologize for the irony of posting it to a blog.

Is there some kind of Internet backlash afoot? This week NPR is devoting stories to the problems caused by email, last week a consortium of computer and software companies formed to discuss the same issue, and I've heard and read about declaring "email bankruptcy" a lot recently. David Brooks' writes today on Tiger Woods' mental discipline, and how this makes him such an unusual figure in today's world of incessant distractions, largely produced by media.

Do you feel that technology is altering your abilities to think?

There is a difference between knowing and thinking. Google might give us greater knowledge, but might it inhibit the processing of knowledge, the thinking part of the equation?

I've decided to ban laptops from my classes next year . . . even if the students protest. As Jeremy recently pointed out, it's better to discuss the issue at hand all the way through rather than to derail the conversation to allow someone to look up a disease, a medication, or whatever, on Wikipedia.

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