Monday, March 9, 2009

The Dumbest Generation

The Carolina Journal did an interview with an Emory professor on his new book titled "The Dumbest Generation"...

read entire interview here

And my response is... spot on.
Education in the US is supposed to be the "best" - except as I have walked this path known as my life, I have encountered far many more well-educated people from places outside the United States.

I play trivia on a semi-regular basis. 10 years ago, the questions were arts and humanities, science and technology and the occasional 'strain your brain' sports trivia question. These contests have morphed into battles of who remembers the lyrics to the last Coldplay CD, track 6. WTF?

Our technological advancements have made us a society of "information now" - with a smattering of "short attention span theater". My daughter has gone through more cell phones, CD players, MP3 players, computers and other gadgets than I've ever owned in my entire life.

Bauerlein comments "If you really want to punish a 17-year-old, all you have to do is say, “Go outside and play, and leave your cell phone and Blackberry at home.” That is exile. That is banishment for them. That underscores the power of these tools. "

I can attest to this fact when raising my own child.

And the sad fact is that I have been given similar chidings from my own less "wired in" friends. I can google an answer to a question no matter where I am (including my favorite secluded hiking spots) I get email and texts on the trail. But the thing I have learned to do is to TURN IT OFF. There is nothing in my world that says I need to be accessible 24/7. None of us do.

So, how do we reintroduce our next generation to the non-technological world? The world of the outdoors, the world of books, the world where Twitter following doesn't exist. The world where we are educated beyond our computers. So much knowledge is being lost in the digital age, where the latest blog opines are taken as fact. Where undocumented sources are gods... (an undocumented source used to be called conjecture or opinion)

Don't get me wrong, I am wired in... more than I want to be, and as much as I need to be.
But I think the EMF has begun to melt my brain.