GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question.
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1. Nicholas Carr: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

1. Nicholas Carr: Is Google Making Us Stupid? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it

The Atlantic covers news and analysis on politics, business, culture, technology, national, international and life on the official site of The Atlantic Magazine.


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3. Answering the question: Is google making us stupid?

Columbia University Psychologist Betsy Sparrow discusses her newest research that examines the effect living in a search engine rich society has on the way w...

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6. Would the ability to better focus our attention change our new attention span limitations?

6. Would the ability to better focus our attention change our new attention span limitations? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it

This morning I learned a new word for information overload - content fried from a colleague at the Packard Foundation.    It resonated.


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Katie Muirhead's curator insight, August 19, 2014 11:57 AM

I really like the expression 'content-fried' in this article- it is exactly what can happen with too mush exposure to varying media sources! It also goes into the theory of infotention, as discussed in module two, as well as techniques to combat becoming overwhelmed. A very useful article!!!

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9. What are the concerns of our educators on whether google makes us stupid?

9. What are the concerns of our educators on whether google makes us stupid? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
Part V: Teachers’ Concerns About Broader Impacts of Digital Technologies on Their Students | Pew Internet & American Life Project

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Logan Merrell's curator insight, June 28, 2013 3:22 PM

Are "digital natives" really all that different from people of the past? Teachers were asked this question and it yeilded mixed results. This is an entire report that surveys teachers about the impact of technology and the internet on students. It seems that students are more distracted than previous generations but are also more tech savy. This report explores the pros and the cons of the way technology and the internet is impacting students.

 

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10. How should we address the Challenges of Limited Attention Spans?


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Logan Merrell's curator insight, June 29, 2013 4:22 AM

Limited attention spans are apparently much more costly than I imagined. The flow of information that enters our brains is greater than ever before but at what cost? This article talks about the problems that can arrise from having limited attention spans. A one minute interuption can cost a knowledge worker 10 to 15 minutes of lost productivity. Time is money and these workers lose an estimated $588 billion a year due to their attentions being diverted from all angles. Information technology seems to be a double-edged sword. It facilitates the flow of information at a level unprecidented but at the same time runs the risk of overwhelming the cognitive capabilities of the human brain. Even with the help of technology there is only so much information we can absorb and fully understand.

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11. If digital literacy is the prominent new form of learning, should there be space in the classroom to be educating kids on how to use the internet and computers?

11. If digital literacy is the prominent new form of learning, should there be space in the classroom to be educating kids on how to use the internet and computers? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it

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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, August 20, 2014 5:24 PM

Digital technologies are tools which support learning rather than learning supporting digital technologies. Good teachers find ways to integrate digital technologies only when necessary.

 

@ivon_ehd1

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12. In what ways does technology change the way people learn?

12. In what ways does technology change the way people learn? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
When we talk about what changes technology has brought to classrooms across the globe, the answers could basically be never ending. Teachers could talk about things like bringing ease to researching all types of topics, bringing organization (and a lack of physical papers to lose) to the classroom, and making connections for professional development. There …

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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, August 9, 2014 10:16 AM

The first three points should have always been in place in teaching and learning. Learning is cooperative, active, differentiated and personal. If it were not those things, I am not sure it is learning.

 

Multitasking is not new either. We need to learn how to manage multitasking in ways that do not obstruct and constrain learning in ways that makes it impossible.

 

@ivon_ehd1

Nancy Jones's curator insight, August 9, 2014 1:12 PM

While some of the points here are true of learning in any way, we still need to learn more about the effect that the technological piece places on how the brain functions.

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13. How Much Technology in the Classroom Should Be Allowed? Is too Much a Bad Thing?

13. How Much Technology in the Classroom Should Be Allowed? Is too Much a Bad Thing? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
Examine what technologies are proposed for the classroom environment, where they come from, and what their effects are on the students.

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14. Are we being overloaded by social media?

14. Are we being overloaded by social media? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
You'd be surprised by how many hours you may spend plugged into social media.

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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, August 6, 2014 8:47 PM
There is and it is not just amongst the students. I watched "educators" who used digital technologies and social media far more than they should have. Adults can set the example and help students gain insight into using digital technologies and social media in healthy ways. @ivon_ehd1
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16. What are the ways that distraction punctures your productivity

16. What are the ways that distraction punctures your productivity | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it

Oh, let me get back to it? Wait, what was I doing? Now I can finally get some real work done.

These are the low-level lamentations of a work life spent with a constant buzz of distraction. All of which is to say: We knowledge workers manage to get interrupted an insane and inane amount.

How often? According to University of California, Irvine business professor Gloria Mark, we get hit with a minor interruption--something that takes a moment to take care of--every three minutes. And we get hit with more major interruptions four times an hour, as Halvor Gregusson blogs at Yast.com. And the kicker is the time it takes to recover from such sundry slips of attention: It's a full 23 minutes until we get back on track, meaning that we're losing hours of work to all these interruptions. Every day.
Where the interruptions come from

Gregusson paints a reflective picture:

    You might be tempted to blame email, text messages, IMs, and even other employees for the lion's share of these costly interruptions--and you’d be right . . . but just barely. While email was one of the biggest time killers (accounting for 23% of all distractions, according to Microsoft), Dr. Mark found that 44% of the time, the workers surveyed interrupted themselves. They simply moved on to other tasks, whether the first one was finished or not.

So just as our minds are given to wandering--though that's not always a bad thing--our tasks do as well.

Which is a bad thing.

Why? Because, as Gregusson notes, we try to make up for the time loss of distraction by making all sorts of heroic efforts at the expense of well-being and quality of work. He cites another study of Mark's, which finds that the distraction-prompted time crunch creates:

    Increased stress levels.
    Increased feelings of frustration.
    Increased effort (or at least perceived effort).

None of which are very sustainable; all of which make work less enjoyable--and, we can imagine, can lead to the unsavory symptoms of burnout: exhaustion, alienation, and feeling as if you can never accomplish quite enough.

Bottom line: While switching from task to task might make you feel as though you're getting more done, that multitasking actually punctures your productivity.


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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, July 31, 2014 8:34 PM

Some distraction is necessary to recognize mistakes being and perhaps to inspire some creative moments. Constant distraction which can be avoided is not what we seek. That is counter-productive.

 

@ivon_ehd1

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2. Response to Carr

2. Response to Carr | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
  Sabiniana B. Baliba George Garneau, Ph.D. 11 March 2013 Is Google Really Making Us Stupid? We are in the twenty-first century, and this is the Digital Age (also known as Computer Age, or Inf...

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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, March 11, 2013 9:22 AM

The question might be are we making ourselves stupid? It is our choices that make use of technology and a mindless approach is poor when selecting our tools.

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4. Is the issue the capacity of our attention spans?

4. Is the issue the capacity of our attention spans? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
Can technology erode something that doesn’t exist?

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Logan Merrell's curator insight, June 28, 2013 7:51 AM

This article challenges the notion that our attention spans even exist. It argues that attention spans are something we create in our minds only to be used as a measuring stick for an individual. As society's demands on an individual change so does the perception of ones attention span. For example, eras ago it was thought better to be distractible than to be easily mesmerized. In modern times we perceive low attention spans as a sickness that can be treated with medicine. So basically technology does not hurt our attention spans because they don't really exist in the first place.

Katie Muirhead's curator insight, August 20, 2014 6:15 AM

This article is very interesting as it questions whether we need, or even have, longer 'attention spans'. Perhaps being easily distracted is just as natural as being mesmerised, and it is only with the new digital environment that this train of focus is exercised?

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5. Does technology and the internet reduce students' attention spans?

5. Does technology and the internet reduce students' attention spans? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
The way children consume information has changed dramatically, but how is this affecting teaching? Duncan Jefferies explores

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Logan Merrell's curator insight, June 28, 2013 4:26 AM

I-phones are becoming banned in public schools in order to create a more learning-friendly environment. There was also a study on the attention spans of people living in urban areas versus people living in remote locations. It seems that people from urban areas have a harder time concentrating on one task than a group of tribals. The research suggests that the tribals live in a low-stimulation environment which allows them to not lose focus by becoming overstimulated. The children of today are expected to enter an alternative reality in the classroom which strips them of all they are accustomed to. The way children consume information has changed and teaching need to follow suit.

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7. What is 'Continuous Partial Attention'?

What is continuous partial attention? Continuous partial attention describes how many of us use our attention today. It is different from multi-tasking. The two are differentiated by the impulse th...

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Logan Merrell's curator insight, June 28, 2013 11:40 PM

This blog describes something known as continuous partial attention which the author claims is the way most of us use our attention today. Continuous partial attention is different than multitasking. We are motivated to multitask in hopes of becoming more efficient and productive as well as freeing up time for ourselves. The motivation to have only partial attention comes from our desire to stay connected to the world around us. This post explores one of the reasons why so many people today seem to have trouble giving their full undivided attention.

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8. Does digital stimulation affect our ability to concentrate?

Back when I was in elementary school the teachers used to tell my parents that something was wrong with me. They said I was hyperactive and that I had a hard time paying attention in class. Soon after I was diagnosed with ADD and put on medication which was supposed solve the problem. Looking back I now realize that the true cause of my ADD was simple; I am a “digital native”. I grew up in an environment where the internet, TV, video games, and social media dominate the landscape. Now as a young adult I find myself easily distracted during class by my I-phone with which I can instantly check my emails and text message my friends. As a “digital native” we are praised for being the most tech-savvy but are often criticized for having short attention spans and lack of ability to think critically. The culprit for this behavior is commonly thought to be the prevalence of technology and the internet which led me to ask the question: is technology and the internet really reducing our attention spans?

 

There have been numerous studies conducted on the subject of technology and the attention spans of those who use it often. The Pew Research Centre in America surveyed 2,500 teachers and 87% felt that modern technologies were creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans”. Elementary school children who play video games more than two hours a day are 67% more likely than their peers who play less to have greater-than-average attention problems according to another study by the journal Pediatrics. Recently the department of psychology at The University of London examined the effect of urbanization on the attention spans of the Himba, a remote Namibian tribe.  A group of Himba who lived a traditional life in the wilderness were compared with another group who had moved to a nearby town. While the urbanized Himba group were roughly comparable to the researchers in terms of their attention spans, the traditional Himba were exceptionally good at concentrating on one activity for long periods of time.

 

The research suggests that the reason the urbanized Himba couldn’t concentrate on one thing for long periods was due to their level of stimulation. People who live in urbanized environments tend to have high levels of stimulation often from technology and internet usage. It is that stimulation which entices us to want to keep our attention on something. There is only so much stimulation to be felt before one’s ability to do a task or concentrate begins to fall off. So now that we are aware of this hyper stimulating existence that we live in the next question becomes how does that affect us? Could all of this stimulation make “digital natives” fundamentally different than those who live in low stimulation environments? The vast majority of today’s educators and teachers grew up with the understanding that the human brain doesn’t physically change based on the stimulation it receives from the outside, especially after the age of 3. It turns out that that view is actually incorrect.

 

The latest research in neurobiology concludes that there is no longer any question that stimulation of various kinds actually changes brain structures and affects the way people think. These transformations even persist throughout a person’s entire life. Research done by social psychologists shows that people from different cultures think about different things and actually think differently too. The environment and culture in which people are raised affects and even determines many of their thought processes. With that being said it’s safe to say neurobiologists and social psychologists agree that brains can and do change with new input which means that “digital natives” are wired differently than those from other generations.

 

Although most of these studies yield somewhat inconclusive data I have learned a great deal of information about internet users and their attention spans. I have concluded that our attention spans are not as short as people perceive them to be. Evidence of this comes from the fact that “digital natives” spend so much time doing the things they enjoy doing which just happens to be texting, tweeting, gaming, etc. They have no problem concentrating in these areas in which they are accustomed to. Teachers and educators need to understand that the traditional methods of teaching are alien to this new generation of students. It turns out that the new generation puts a high value on education but say that traditional teaching methods bore them. “Digital natives” prefer more hands-on learning techniques which makes it very difficult for them to absorb information in the form of a three hour lecture that demands their undivided attention. Yes, technology and the internet do a good job in diverting our attention but perhaps that is because of our desire multitask and stay “connected”. It almost seems like the entire world has evolved but the methods of teaching refuse to follow suit. Perhaps it’s not the “digital natives” that need to change, it’s the system?

 

 

Works Cited

 

Barnes, Kassandra, Raymond C. Marateo, and S. Ferris. "Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation." Innovateonline.info. Csdtech.org, n.d. Web. 29 June 2013.

 

Beuke, Carl. "You're Hired." Increase Your Attention Span! Psychology Today, 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 June 2013.

 

Bray, David, Karen Croxson, William Dutton, and Benn Kosynski. "Seriosity: Addressing the Challenges of Limited Attention Spans." Emory.edu. N.p., Jan. 2008. Web. 28 June 2013.

 

Heffernan, Virginia. "The Attention-Span Myth." New York Times Magazine Nov 21 2010: 22,22,24. ProQuest. Web. 29 June 2013 .

 

"How Teens Do Research in the Digital World." Part II: The Mixed Impact of Digital Technologies on Student Research. Pew Internet, 01 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 June 2013.

 

Jefferies, Duncan. "Is Technology and the Internet Reducing Pupils' Attention Spans?" The Guardian. Teacher Network, 11 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 June 2013.

 

Kiisel, Ty. "Is Social Media Shortening Our Attention Span?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 25 Jan. 2012. Web. 29 June 2013.

 

Klein, Sarah, and Copyright Health Magazine 2011. "Study: Too Many Video Games May Sap Attention Span." CNN. Cable News Network, 05 July 2010. Web. 29 June 2013.

 

"Many Teachers Think Entertainment Media Use Has Hurt Student Academic Performance | Common Sense Media." Many Teachers Think Entertainment Media Use Has Hurt Student Academic Performance | Common Sense Media. Common Sense Media, 01 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 June 2013.

 

Prensky, Marc. "Engage Me or Enrage Me." Learningaccount.net. N.p., 05 Dec. 2008. Web. 29 June 2013.

 

Prensky, Marc. "Do They Really Think Differently?" Britannia. N.p., Dec. 2001. Web. 29 June 2013.

 

Stone, Linda. "Continuous Partial Attention." Linda Stone. Word Press, n.d. Web. 29 June 2013.


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15. Is Social Media Shortening Our Attention Span?

15. Is Social Media Shortening Our Attention Span? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
It's probably unfair to blame social media specifically, but I think it's safe to say that the 24/7 media barrage of soundbites we face every day could be taking its toll.

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Logan Merrell's curator insight, June 29, 2013 3:25 AM

I'm not sure if social media is to blame specifically but it surely adds to the problem. Social media such as Twitter seems to promote this shortening of thought and attention. Kiisel argues that we should not let the imediacy of the medium dictate the quality of the conversation. In other words we should type in complete sentences and say exactly what we mean even though text messaging has always been about abreviating words.

Katie Muirhead's curator insight, August 20, 2014 6:12 AM

This article is interesting as it has quite a negative stance towards social media, that it definitely is reducing our attention spans. It has some interesting techniques that can be related towards mindfulness, including limiting exposure.

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17. We used to be worried about the effects of watching too much television. Is the internet the new bad guy?

17. We used to be worried about the effects of watching too much television. Is the internet the new bad guy? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it

Much has been written about the distractibility of the modern American. In the past decade, diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorders have skyrocketed, the listicle conquered the internet, and there was even a report that goldfish now have longer attention spans than the average American.

 

Now it appears that watching television, itself a diversion, requires more focus than we can muster.

 

Forbes reports that a new study from the consulting group TNS found that 56% of Americans engage in another digital activity (playing with their phones, tablets, or laptops) while they are watching TV. That puts the U.S. ahead of the global average, which is 48%, but well behind Japan, where 79% of TV viewers are using a different device while they do it...,


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Jeff Domansky's curator insight, July 11, 2014 3:51 AM

Integrating social media with TV offers great ROI potential for marketers.

Rein Hof's curator insight, July 11, 2014 4:15 AM

56% van de Amerikanen gebruikt dus een mobile device terrwijl e aan het tv kijken zijn. Da's veel, maar een wereldwijd gemiddelde van 48% vind ik toch ook best hoog! 

Nu moet ik ook zeggen dat menig tv programma alleen maar leuk is om naar te kijken wanneer je ondertussen via je mobiel of tablet Twitter en Facebook volgt om te lezen wat er allemaal over gezegd wordt.. Met name de verschillende (muziek) talenten programma's zijn pas weer echt bezienswaardig geworden nadat het gebruik van Twitter en Facebook gemeengoed is geworden. 

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18.How is technology rewiring your brain?

18.How is technology rewiring your brain? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
As we all know, our minds are changing as technology integrates more and more into our lives. The use of technology in traditionally social situations has become so rife it that games have been invented in order to keep people off their phones. In schools, it is evident that children and teenagers spend more time taking …

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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, July 31, 2014 8:29 PM

The question might not be will the brain be rewired by digital technology. The question might be better does digital technology have to rewire our brain. How we use technology is at the heart of these questions. Yes, change will happen, but it does not have be done mindlessly.

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19. Looking Ahead: What Is The Future of the Internet?

19. Looking Ahead: What Is The Future of the Internet? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
What will the internet look like in the near future, 20 years, 100 years? We explore the possibilities in this illustration.

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Idris Grant's curator insight, August 25, 2014 3:31 PM

With all the talk of "The Internet of Things," and the rapid advances we're seeing with all-things web, smart devices and hyper-connected world, we found this Infographic goes a long way to tell the story.

Hunca's curator insight, October 8, 2014 11:14 AM

Great article

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20. Now i know how digital media affects the lifespan of my attention, how does my attention affect the lifespan of digital media?

20. Now i know how digital media affects the lifespan of my attention, how does my attention affect the lifespan of digital media? | GOOGLE: For smarterer or dumberer, that is the question. | Scoop.it
It's no surprise that internet users are fickle and we have short attention spans. There is just so much internet content out there to consume that we're almost trained to have short attention spans. What about "viral" content?

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