Technology for Learning

Based on readings in Is the Internet Changing the Way you Think? Edited by John Brockman

By: Jillian McSweeney and Blair Winters

Is the Internet changing the way we think? the way you think? the way our students think?

After having read the DiBona and Kosslyn articles we found that the authors are in agreement in the belief that the internet is changing the way we think. Not only that they also believe the internet influences our behaviors to the extent that we no longer do or think certain things. While Kosslyn is addressing this question by just looking at his own life, DiBona takes a societal perspective.

We found Kosslyn’s perspective to be limited and focused on how technological capabilities affect him personally. Kosslyn feels as if the internet has become an extension of himself. He likens the internet capabilities and information at our fingertips to that of a prosthetic limb. He sees the browser as an extension of his memory, the internet an extension of his clairvoyance and judgment. Overall, Kosslyn claims he is a better thinker because the internet has been integrated into his “mental and emotional processing.” (p. 183)

DiBona took a societal perspective when discussing the question “Is the internet changing the way we think?” ’DiBona challenges the idea that the internet is making us more ignorant, referenced the article “Is Google Making us Stupider?” by Nicholas Carr. DiBona affirms that we just have less unique thoughts considering how many people have access to sharing their ideas on the net and therefore it is more difficult (if not impossible) to have an original idea. Additionally, he thinks that ignorant people will remain ignorant because they use the internet in a way that “aligns with their beliefs” (p. 225). DiBona reminds us that it is okay to let go of having so many unique thoughts, not that we shouldn’t contribute to having unique thoughts, but to be comfortable with using our high-functioning thoughts only in terms of things that matter most to us–family, work, etc.

We believe the authors’ perspectives have many implications for us as educators. We will need to think of the internet now almost as a detachable part of our brains, and even more so for our students. We will need to consider the impact of the internet on our thinking and our students’ thinking. Teachers must teach new literacy strategies because students have an access to a plethora of information online. Since students may not have to commit this information to their long term memory, it then becomes important for teacher to teach them the skills that they need to navigate the scores of information online. Like the authors we feel that the internet has now become a place of collaborative learning. Teachers and students must utilize this collaborative space to create personal learning networks.To build off this students must be taught metacognitive skills such as being aware of and monitoring their learning goals. If students are like the authors and feel that the internet functions as an extension of their own memory then we believe teachers must develop new forms of assessment that take into account. We are left wondering if teachers should push against this idea of the internet as an extension of memory and challenge students to develop their metacognitve rehearsal skills to commit this content information to long term memory.

References

Kosslyn, S.M. (2011). Social prosthetic system. Brockman, J. (Eds.) Is the internet changing
the way you think? (182-183). New York, NY: Harper Collins.

DiBona, C. (2011) Ephemera and back again. (Eds.) .) Is the internet changing the way you
think? (224-227). New York, NY: Harper Collins.

No Longer

This Tagul image was created based on friends’/authors’/our own responses to what we no longer do with the advancing internet technology. Tagul images offer shape clouds as well as showcasing words that appear more frequently–a great visual to summarize findings!

Perspectives

Blair and I used this image as our foundation to illustrating our interpretations of the authors’ ideas. It was created on SMARTboard to show the rippling effect that internet has from the “self” perspective through the “teaching/learning” perspective. We choose to use this tool because I was comfortable using it and could easily model for Blair how to use it while documenting our discoveries.

Similarities

This image was created on easel.ly. It represents a technology that each of us had just learned to use. It shows how the authors had similar views. Blair was a little more comfortable with this tool so she provided some scaffolding for me!