Let me Google it

When are we too dependent on technology?  Nick Romeo asks the question in The Atlantic.

Carr includes other case studies: He describes doctors who become so reliant on decision-assistance software that they overlook subtle signals from patients or dismiss improbable but accurate diagnoses. He interviews architects whose drawing skills decay as they transition to digital platforms. And he recounts frightening instances when commercial airline pilots fail to perform simple corrections in emergencies because they are so used to trusting the autopilot system. Carr is quick to acknowledge that these technologies often do enhance and assist human skills. But he makes a compelling case that our relationship with them is not as positive as we might think.
Something meant to expedite a task winds up being an indispensable technology. 
All of this has unmistakable implications for the use of technology in classrooms: When do technologies free students to think about more interesting and complex questions, and when do they erode the very cognitive capacities they are meant to enhance? The effect of ubiquitous spell check and AutoCorrect software is a revealing example. Psychologists studying the formation of memories have found that the act of generating a word in your mind strengthens your capacity to remember it. When a computer automatically corrects a spelling mistake or offers a drop-down menu of options, we’re no longer forced to generate the correct spelling in our minds.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I find this article interesting. I work for an online university that is now experimenting with synchronous learning to provide more interaction within the classroom and other forms of learning techniques to reach the different style of learners. I think that this synchronous addition will help to address the problem of relying on a computer too much and will assist with the social aspects that can be lost in an online classroom.

I also thought it was interesting the mention of an over reliance on options that check the spelling and/or grammar. I have found that a lot of students do not even use these tools, but instead submit a paper that consists of many basic spelling and grammatical errors. I want to play the devil's advocate here and state that I believe the use of these tools, both spelling and grammar, can actually teach the student how to spell and/or write a complete sentence grammatically correct. I use these tools whenever I write an article or blog and have found that when the tool finds an error, I actually have to review it and accept the recommendation or not. This has helped me to become a better speller and writer.

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