Technology for Learning


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Is the internet changing the way we think? That is the question that is being addressed in this assignment. We had to analyze 2 essays written by Steven Pinker and Roger, and create a digital abstract presentation in which the main ideas of each essay are demonstrated.


The answer to our essential question according to the authors is: No. Both authors are in agreement in their skepticism of the idea that the internet is changing the way we think. Steven Pinker writes that thinking the internet can revamp the brain’s mechanisms “ is a superficial conception about what thinking is”.  He uses scientists as an example. Scientists are voracious seekers of knowledge and users of the internet so how can we suggest that the internet has changed the way scientists think.  He then suggests, that the fact students these days  seem to lack skills and are lazy spellers is not due to the effects of the internet but it is  more likely due to lack of direction and expectations.  As teachers, we are held to a set of standards and to suggest these standards are being lowered to enable this “laziness” is rather insulting. The standards, if anything seem to be getting higher and more complicated. This brings to mind what Sir Ken Robinson said Karl Fisch’s Did You Know? Shift Happens Series RSA changing paragdims. “We are trying educate our children to meet the future by doing what we did in the past.  Things have changed. Our standards were designed for a different time. So is now the time to go back to the drawing board and create a new system? One that does not standardize our students but  values,  and develops their individual skills, creativity and divergent thinking.We do agree that there is a lack of direction. There are all these written articles explaining that teachers need to meet all the students’ needs and be able to teach these New Literacies, but not every teacher knows what this means. We are fortunate to have the possibility to study a Masters in Educational Technology, but what about the rest of the teachers? Teachers need to be taught, for them to apply in the classroom.

Roger Shank writes, that the process of thinking “has always been the same” but now, we just have more to think about. “What has changed is how we find evidence.”  Because of the internet, we have access to more information than ever before. In the past we went to our elders to seek answers so perhaps now,  the internet is “the modern day village elder.”  The author is concerned about the quality of the information we have access to and how we need to be careful not to lose the truth in the process. Nowadays, anyone can seem to be an expert on anything. “I found a reference online, so it must be true.”   As Dr Dwyer highlights  in her paper  Developing online reading comprehension: Changes, challenges and consequences (2012),  students are being exposed to these new literacies  and it is imperative that as teachers, we teach not just the skills needed for reading traditional text but to  include those that teach our students to be critical consumers of these new literacies  giving them the specific skills and strategies they need to distil and sort through the masses of information they are faced with.

We may not agree with everything these two authors have written but they give us something to think about.  Through history new technologies have been introduced and evolved to what we have today.  Did they, the wheel, typewriter the telephone, the internet, change our way of thinking, or did our thinking change them.

1. The following video, shares the idea that the thinking process has not changed; our brains are still the same, same size and wired the say way. What has changed is the need to organize our information in different ways. We are bombarded with new and new things all the time it is important to have the ability to organize it all.

2. Our second presentation is an image we created, and it is on the top of our page in the slideshare presentation. Our thinking produces ideas that bring about change in the original ideas, which means that they multiply.

3. Our third presentation was created with iMovie. In the beginning you hear crickets. The noise is soothing and the word truth is clear and bright. Before, knowledge was black and white, either something was or it wasn’t. There were not many perspectives. What someone said was the absolute truth. Now a days, many people test the same theory and have different opinions about it. So many things are uploaded on the web, it seems everyone is an expert. We are victims of typing in a question on google and finding our answer using yahoo answers and what ever bill1123 wrote, we take that as the truth. So, as we have access to more and more information, the value of truth is being lost.


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