Google is making us smarter as we re-discover new ways to learn. In “Is Google Making Us Supid?” Nicholas Carr argues his profound concern on the use of the Internet and how it is affecting our brains. Carr’s main argument is that the Internet may well have damaging effects on cognition while reading; that would diminish the ability for concentration and contemplation. Carr strongly believes that the problem with the Internet is how it pushes us towards browsing information rather than digging in more deeply and considering it.
I agree with Carr, there is no question that our mental behaviors are changing. We ought to be reading more books—or so I think. On the other hand, he is wrong to present the internet as a threat. I have found the Internet to be a superb helping hand while reading books, studying assignments, and in just about everything. We enter into a world of an abundance of information, as we click on links to gather data.
Web-searching the internet allows me to learn much more than what is in a book, even several books. All of the information is right-at-hand. John Austin, an academic dean at St. Andrew’s School in Delaware, and the author of The Next Renaissance, or the Age of “Linguistic Whateverism” says “The Internet may in fact mean the end of the novel — as well as the mental dispositions it encouraged.
As a teacher of English, that is not a prospect I welcome. And it should be resisted.
This does not mean we try to turn the technological clock backward and banish computers from our classrooms. Quite the opposite: schools should seek to harness, creatively and appropriately, those digital applications that can improve teaching and learning. But schools should also mount a spirited defense of the liberal arts and continue to champion the traditional literacies of reading, writing, and reflection .” I enrolled in community college with an open mind and hoped that I would figure things out as I went. My first obstacle was learning how to become internet knowledgeable. I am accustomed to reading print (books). The next obstacle was teaching myself how to better engage my studies by figuring out what would work best for me. Sitting in a quiet setting had always enabled me to concentrate and absorb whatever I was reading.
I have learned that through integrating the Internet while reading my textbook is what works best for me. Most of my professors join, innovatively and fittingly, those digital applications that can improve teaching and learning with thoughtful reading. Badke says “We need to model the time-honored value of stopping and taking stock, something that has grown scarce in the demanding pace of our Google world. We need to demonstrate, even when we are guiding students in an online search, the capacity to pause and really look at what’s going on around us. Whether that involves adding facets to our search, rethinking search terminology, or evaluating results, these are opportunities for us to get whole brains working .” He is an associate librarian at Trinity Western University, and the author of How Stupid Is Google Making Us? Badke’s and Austin’s views are very much similar.
They both suggest the integration of the traditional-style of learning, in addition with the practice of the Internet. I believe educators of the Internet generation should use the traditional-style of teaching students. Students have become less active in thoughtfully reviewing information; because of the convenience and immediacy of the internet. Educators giving instructions in an online search should show students how to focus and be more attentive. Different aspects could be added to enrich searching—reconsidering search terms, or thinking over results. These would be good ways for students to use all of their brainpower. I whole-heartedly agree with Badke and Austin’s views. I have achieved academic success during the course of my studies at John Tyler Community College. My professors have guided me supporting the traditional-style of learning, while using the Internet as a boost (enhancer)—towards in-depth and thoughtful learning.
It is sort of like having spaghetti as the main course of a meal; and adding the sauce to achieve the complete effect. I believe the same effects takes place with the integration of traditional-style learning and making use of the Internet. The mixing of both is a rewarding experience. I do not agree with Carr’s concerns of the Internet diminishing the ability for concentration and contemplation. He says, “And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away “my” capacity for concentration and contemplation. “My” mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles .” He also uses sources to confirm his beliefs. Everyone is different. The Internet can have a positive effect if used maturely and resourcefully. My answer to Nicholas Carr’s article is no; Google is not making us stupid. Google is making us smarter by means of receiving knowledge of new ways to learn. Even while using the Internet we still make our own meanings, draw our own interpretations, and form our own ideas using our mental processes.