Is Google Making Us Stupid

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Criticism of the Web most often questions whether we are becoming more superficial and scattered in our thinking. In the July-August 2008 Atlantic magazine, Nicholas Carr published "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" ( Like other critics, he sees change as loss and not as gain. But, his own criticism is superficial and misses the humanizing impact of Web 2.0. Nicholas Carr is an important voice today in pointing to the nervousness that many people have about technology. He recently published The Big Switch; Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, which is in its seventh printing. His blog is well worth reading regularly: His views are carefully constructed and researched. He is a skilled writer and is widely read. And, academics often express the same concerns Carr doesin his Atlantic article. Our concerns are about the qualitative differences in how net-gen students think and write and learn. Nicholas Carr is giving voice to these concerns. This article is about one skill that he believes is being eroded, that of reading: "I'm not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I'm reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I'd spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That's rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I'm always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle." He says this change is because of all the time he spends online. As a writer, he finds the Web a valuable tool, but he thinks it's having a bad effect on his concentration.

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