Mr. Eure | Brewster High School
Is Google Making Us Stupid?
August 26, 2012Posted by on
Nicholas Carr’s article on the effects of Google, the last text you will read this summer, is longer and arguably more dense than the preceding four texts. Take your time over the next ten days with it, remembering that the goal is not exhaustive understanding but responsive thinking and discussion. Focus on his central argument about memory and the plasticity of your collective thinking first; then work your way through the many hyperlinks and references that develop that position. This is a bit of practice for the fall, when you will need to use the resources available to you—the Google-driven machinery Carr discusses—to flesh out your understanding of everything from writing prompts to my feedback. You might share some of your discoveries (e.g., about allusions or anecdotes or expert opinions) in the comments here, since that collaborative skill will be tested soon. (If you are looking for further reading on the subject, you might track down Carr’s The Shallows, a book that explores the same issues in more depth.)
You should also take notes in your compendium on how this essay relates to the start of our school year. Our district is investing in Google Apps for Education, training Google Educators, and outfitting classrooms with Chromebooks, and you are right now completing an AP summer assignment that is housed almost entirely online. These efforts put you ahead of an evolutionary curve in education that is (at least ostensibly) driven by a change in the way students learn. Weigh Carr’s reasoning against your own experience. I suspect you spent a good portion of this summer “foraging in the Web’s info-thickets,” as Carr phrases it; your thinking has been altered to some extent by that hypertextual exploration, and you might start with a kind of self-assessment of that change.
Two other notes about the last days of summer:
- Take an afternoon or two to read RJ Palacio’s Wonder. You should have already received this letter from the district; read it again now and take careful note of the questions asked. You might jot a few responses down in your compendium.
- Starting next Sunday, check this site for your syllabus, opening day materials, and a bit of work-in-progress feedback on these summer discussions.