Friday, January 01, 2010

First Thoughts

Bauerlein, M. (2009). The dumbest generation: How the digital age stupefies young Americans and jeopardizes our future, or, don't trust anyone under 30. New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin.

"Peer contact never ends, and digital tools are as essential and ordinary as food and air and sleep" (Bauerlein, 2009, p. x).
These new tools, these new digital devices connect people - all the time. They are everywhere. They are with people everywhere, and are used for almost everything. For the digitally connected user, they are natural. It's easy to notice younger users who do not have a 'strong signal' to connect to their digital world. The immediate connection, the immediate immersion in this connected world reinforces the need, or perceived need, for the technology.

"The Digital Age has embroiled the young in a swirl of social groupings and contests, and it threatens their intellectual development" (Bauerlein, 2009, p. xii).
The younger digital users measure their social worth in the number of connections. Is this the ideal way to promote learning? In this measure, do the users have the "right" members in their social groups to help them learn?
"This is not a benign evolution of old media into new media, traditional literacy into e-literacy. It is a displacement" (Bauerlein, 2009, p. xii).
It would be easy to assume or presume that technology, or the presence of technology, has evolved media - to a more digital, user created format. It would be more difficult to ask if the USE of technology has shifted or as Bauerlein noted, displaced, the learning process. Granted, we can see how technology extends learning - if it is used "correctly" - the digital age requires the use of technology, it is up to us to use it in a manner that integrates it into the learning and teaching process.

Technology cannot be an add-on to learning. Technology cannot replace teachers, or collaboration, or any other aspect of teaching and learning. And yet, we haven't successfully integrated technology into teaching and learning.

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