Archive for April, 2010

Are We Still Capable of Thinking?

April 27, 2010

In his article, “Don’t Touch That Dial!: A history of media technology scares, from the printing press to Facebook,” Vaughan Bell addresses the fear and suspicion that arise each time a new technology emerges: how is this going to affect our ability to think?

“These concerns stretch back to the birth of literacy itself. In parallel with modern concerns about children’s overuse of technology, Socrates famously warned against writing because it would ‘create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories.'”

Imagine what he would think of calculators, automatic spellcheckers, and the internet! But is technology really so bad, or are we simply resistant to change? Bell argues that there is always going to be some form of new technology that “scares” us. But this fear will only persist until something else comes along — a newer, scarier technology.


Evaluating Information Gets Even More Complicated

April 16, 2010

A little while ago, the New York Times reported on the growing problem of drug companies ghostwriting articles for scientific journals.

We teach students that they should judge the credibility of a source partially based on the credentials of the author.  What do they do if the person whose name is published as the author isn’t the author at all?  Finding credible information isn’t getting any easier…

In Plain English!

April 9, 2010

Need easy to follow explanations of blogs, wikis, twitter, rss feeds, social networking, and… zombies?

Check out the unique videos from Common Craft.

“Common Craft produces short explanatory videos that are focused on making complex ideas easy to understand.”