Wednesday, October 06, 2010

an epidemic of technological nincompoopery?

John Grossbohlin has been busy reading and sent these links: Some fear technology leaving kids in dark from Freemanonline and a new book The Dumbest Generation Finding published material relevant to the blog has been becoming easier as the stupidity engendered by technology has been becoming more and more obvious to many.

A brief review of The Dumbest Generation, How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future(Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30)--by Mark Bauerlein follows:
"Throughout The Dumbest Generation, there are ... keen insights into how the new digital world really is changing the way young people engage with information and the obstacles they face in integrating any of it meaningfully. These are insights that educators, parents, and other adults ignore at their peril."-Lee Drutman, Los Angeles Times
Can anyone see why kids might need to do some real stuff in school, like wood shop maybe?


  1. I don't agree. there's been some remarkable research being done about the use of technology. I'm particularly encouraged by Sugata Mitra's "Hole in the Wall" experiments.

  2. With regard to Mitra's hole in the wall, if you leave a carpenter's jobsite with all the tools in place and allow the kids to have run of the place, they will learn, too. Will they make anything meaningful?

    If you fill a room with cats and pianos, with the result be music, noise or Beethoven?

    What are kids doing with their hand-held devices? Can they make something? Or do something real? and if learning to use those things and being occupied with those things take the place of basketball, woodshop, chemistry lab and other forms of engagement in learning and social development, has the trade been good?

  3. I do agree that there is a hell of a lot of time waste going on, but lumping all kids together isn't really fair. I know some remarkable children who are using technology to teach themselves how to do amazing things, all without direction and encouragement from their adults.

    Websites like instructables, you tube etc are teaching them hands on skills that they simply aren't getting in school, or taking them further than the curriculum goes.

    For example I know a "gang" of young girl wizzkids who wanted a remote control car. they couldn't afford one and they used the net to find out how to make one from parts scrounged during their suburbs council large item rubbish pickup week. What they created is truly astounding. No adults helped, except to loan a few tools and a little solder. None of them are over 10. So there is hope!

    Remember that a lot of the time wasting stuff is driven by advertising and marketing. it may only cost 10 cents to download but it's earning the companies a fortune in revenue world wide. It's something you have to teach children and adults how to recognise and avoid. unfortunately many simply don't have the life skills to do so.

  4. There are kids doing some cool things, I agree. The Maker Faires are an example where you can find young people involved in all kinds of interesting things. But is that where we are going overall? Not many parents are doing much to interest and engage their children in fixing and making, or music and dance for that matter. And schools in which children do no art, laboratory work are part of the problem.