Deep Thinkers an Endangered Species?

July 9 2010

Nicolas Carr, the man behind the hotly debated essay "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" has expanded his thesis in a full-length book "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains."

If you've not yet reached the "jet skier" mental state that renders you unable to scuba dive into the depths of well- written articles, check out Open Culture's interview with Carr.

I tended to agree with Carr when I first read his "Is Google..." essay. But now I'm not so sure. Here's why.

For the past four or so months I've been deeply involved as a member of the founding team in structuring and writing a business plan for a fascinating -- and of significant value, I believe -- new healthcare service with a strong IT/database component. 

There was a period of seven or eight 14-hour days in a row to get the process started. Alone, as my spouse was on a business trip. Intense? Yes. Focused? Indeed. And would (could, will) I do it again? Certainly!

How did (and does) that level of immersion arise?

I've always been an avid reader and likely will always supplement scanning pixels on a screen with reading print on paper. Of course, that attitude may be due to my educational foundation 'way back when.

And my choice of books is pretty eclectic, running from fairly silly (but well-written) recent "first novels" to Vincent Cronin's superb histories.

So is the generation now in school doomed to jet skiing over ideas instead of the total immersion of scuba diving into them? Read the June 15 2010 article "Will iPad Fail in School?"

To me, the article is not so much about the limitations of Apple's newest tech tool. Rather, I fear that Brother Rice High School's admirable quest to bring the virtues of technology to high school education foreshadows the vices that over-use of technology may bring to primary education.

Thanks for reading!

Category: Open to Debate
Listed under: Psychology/Behavior; K-12 (education)