Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tackling Myths

People talk about technology affecting children in negative ways. Nick Sauers has just written a post on "1:1 Schools" to help debunk some of these ideas called "Tackling Myths". He gives statistics that do not support the following statements:

  • People are losing their abilities to connect with one another in "real life" because they are living in an online world.

  • Our language is being destroyed because of the language kids use while texting or while in chatrooms.

  • Students won't be safe online!

The New York Times (Virginia Heffernan) has also published an article called "The Attention Span Myth". Heffernan argues that our modern fascination on the importance of attention span is ill founded. As one comedian quipped, "remember when having ADD meant that you had an imagination?!"

On the other hand, CBC television produced a video entitled "Are We Digital Dummies?" This video makes the statement that "no one is happy with the time they are spending with technology". This video is both convincing and one sided and well worth watching for an alternate view.

One of the most interesting things the film says is that over-use of technology causes anything from marital stress to work burnout. Families may talk less and work life is extended beyond the office. One example suggested workers prior to blackberries (32 billion worldwide!) worked 45 hours a week, post blackberry was 70 hours.

The film suggests that we are a nation of distracted technophiles. Brain research says that middle age multi-taskers make more mistakes. They also argued that technology can discourage creativity. This is because as soon as you get an idea you put it out there instead of taking it further with deeper reflection and research.

There is some suggestion that technology is rewiring the brain. This point was not well supported by the authors, yet is something for me to do further reading on.

I do like the concluding point in the film. We need too manage technology in our lives or it will manage us.


  1. Thanks for reading my post! I haven't yet seen the CBS show that you wrote about, but I am very apprehensive about what many of our "news" channels are putting out. Many of these channels have the educational reports that are very sensational, but yet supported by very little hardcore research. They find one feel good, or bad, story and share it like it will work for all schools. They tackle educational issues on the very surface and typically fail to dive deep at all.

    Nick Sauers

  2. Nick,

    I find that for real learning reading books is one of the best ways. It seems that the deep thought that goes into books often beats the thought put into blog posts (including mine) and the often sensational TV commentary.