Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book cover image

I chose this image for my book cover because it depicts the brain development of an adolescent youth. Research has shown that the teenage brain continues to develop past the adolescent teen years into the mid-20's. Scientists are suggesting that brain development of today's youth are being altered as a result of adolescents' constant stimulation with various forms of technology. How this will ultimately affect cognitive and abstact thinking is unknown. This image reminded me of the introduction of the book and of chapter one, because the author brings up the fact that today's youth are more interested in their own society than the world around them. It made me wonder how much of their perceptions and the importance they attach to them are a result of a change in brain development, and how it cannot help but alter their congitive development, affecting higher order and abstract thinking. It makes me wonder if this can be a contributing factor as to why they are placing less emphasis on educational and wordly facts and more emphasis to what affects them directly.

Super Summerizer Chapter 1, pages 1-38: Knowledge Deficits

Chapter one provides somber facts and statistics concerning the younger and "dumber" generation. In the book's introduction, the author points out that never before in history have our youth had opportunities for achieving greatness in areas such as education, politics, science, and cultural awareness.

However, this isn't happening. It is true that today's youth are digitally empowered, but that empoweredness isn't being used to advanced their educational knowledge. They are more interested in their social knowledge and networks. The author points out that "Never before have young people been so intensely mindful of and present to one another, so enabled in adolescent contact." While they may be interested in worldly ideas, they are so enamored with their own personal world and its realities that they tend to be cutoff from the outside world.

Chapter one provides factual evidence covering the past ten years of studies, surveys, and results of national testing of American youth in the areas of history, civics, math, science, technology, and fine arts. Results have shown that a larger percentage of American students are scoring in the lower percentiles of their knowledge in these areas. The author states that "The mental equipment of the youth falls short of their media, money, e-gadgets, and career plans."

The author is also quick to point out that he is in no way rebuking the young. He states they have many admirable qualities such as an increase in community service. But if things don't change and American youth continue to spend less time in activities such as homework and more time with instant gratification from their different types of entertainment, it will continue to have an anti-intellectual effect. He states that even though today's youth may be more advanced in critical thinking, higher order thinking should not replace historical thinking.

Super Summarizer, pp. 70-110

Chapter Three, “Screen Time,” pp. 70-110, scratches at the enamel of the glitz and gadgetry of technology, the lauding of techno-rich environments, and the promise of intellectual greatness that Web 2.0 seems to promise. Screen time of all kinds has its advocates; statistics and experts connect increased IQ scores with digital interactions, better spatial reasoning, and the increase in ability to multi-task in digital natives’ brains. The experts speak of new kinds of intelligence that have been created, including “distributive cognition” and “transmedia navigation.” They also praise the “collective intelligence” that has been created, as well as unsurpassed global collaboration.
The author of the book also shares statistics that belie these effects of Web 2.0 on our youth. The IQ scores may show greater spatial intelligence, but there is not this increase in reading and mathematics. Statistics continue to show that the greatest increase in homework scores comes from reading, not more screen time. And although incredibly able to connect globally, the students of today have less knowledge of civics, math, science, and foreign affairs. As the author states, “In an average young person’s online experience, the senses may be stimulated and the ego touched, but vocabulary doesn’t expand, memory doesn’t improve, analytic talents don’t develop, and erudition doesn’t ensue.”

Monday, November 1, 2010

SUPER SUMMARIZER for pages 39-70

Bauerlein, Mark (2008) The Dumbest Generation: How The Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher

Super Summarizer for pages 39-70 by Mary Larscheid-Christensen

Chapter Two, The New Biblophobes

A bibliophobe is a person who hates or dislikes books.

This chapter discusses the decline of reading in the USA. Books are rejected by young adults. When the Harry Potter series were published, They did spark a reinvigoration of reading. Sales of books increased giving hope to the Book Industry Study Group, which keeps track of the book business, but the reading habit didn’t continue.

Many statistics were given on how many young people don’t like to read, score lower on reading tests, and literary reading rates dropped. Young Americans are reading less all the time.

Page 59
“As the occasions of reading diminish, reading becomes a harder task. A sinister corollary to the cognitive benefit applies: the more you don’t read, the more you can’t read.”

The chapter also uses the term e-literacy for young Americans, labeling them not as illiterate, but e-literates. Explaining that they don’t worry about learning to spell, when there is spell-check. This is a new kind of literacy where they use problem solving, use rapid communication and digital technology.

Young adults think differently, they enjoy being engaged. They are digitally proficient. Their wealth, cultural access and education increase, but intellectually they suffer.


I chose this image because it could represent the overly-connected world of the digital natives. The components are all arranged and wired, deriving their purpose and energy from the other surrounding components and outside energy source rather than their own individuality, time for reflective thinking, and more complicated relationships off of the circuit board. The author of The Dumbest Generation speaks to this in his introduction: "Instead of opening young American minds to the stores of civilization and science and politics, technology has contracted their horizons to themselves..."