sue watling

Digital Christmas

December 20, 2009 | Leave a Comment

How many will spend Christmas attached to laptop or mobile phone? If Christmas is about tradition then it’s worth remembering the ghost of Christmas Past was an analogue one; family, friends and social activities like board games. Playing Trivial Pursuit without the Internet was not that far back in time. Today, the memory required for such pastimes is being challenged. Is Google Making us Stupid?  and Is Google Killing General Knowledge? suggest real changes in the human brain. Should we be afraid? The ability to adapt to external change is at the core of evolution. As Nietzsche’s  experience with a typewriter changed his writing style so instant digital access to communication and information is  changing how we process thought.  We’re no longer reading in depth. We skim and flit through pages, continually changing topics. The Stumbleupon Syndrome has us addicted to the unexpected. Google ensures we can always find what we are looking for. The Internet has taken the pressure off memorising facts as stand-alone pieces of information. Potentially the next decade should see us all with access to the tools of learning. Assessment will be less about recall and more about critical evaluation, application and reflection. Student Future carries a laptop in the way Student Past had a dictionary. In a similar vein, Christmas Future is digital. The 24/7 virtual world has us all connected. Our traditional analogue customs and habits are at stake unless we make a stand and turn off the connections. Return to family, friends and board games and stick the invitation to Google (and Facebook and Twitter etc)  up the chimney. It might be harder than you think and that in itself is something we should really be afraid of.



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