Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Digital Wonderland or Overload?

Interesting and thoughtful article by Mark Edmundson, a professor of English at the University of Virginia. He discusses this generation of multi-tasking, digitally connected learners. Two things I liked about this article. First, his description of today's learner.

"Now students in almost any classroom can get directly onto the Internet and, given the shield like screens on their laptops, they can call up what they like. Especially in the big lecture classes now, everyone's flitting from Web site to Web site, checking e-mail, and instant messaging. Do they pay any attention to the class? My students tell me that they're experts in paying attention to many things at once: It's no problem at all."

Second, his argument for exposing students (in his case college kids) to various authors and different points of view.

"The ultimate reason to read them is to see if they may know you better than you know yourself. They may help you to cut through established opinion — doxa — about who you are and what the world is. They may give you new ways of seeing and saying things, and those ways may be truer for you than the ones that you grew up with. Genuine education is a process that gives students a second chance. "

Read the article and see if you agree with his final conclusion. I suspect those of us who are above a certain age will and those who are younger will not.

[Quotes: Edmundson, Mark. "Dwelling in Possibilities." The Chronicale of Higher Education Vol 54,Issue 2714 Mar 2008 Page B7. 11 Mar 2008 .]
[Photo: Michael Jastremski for CC:Attribution-ShareAlike]

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