THIS SHOCKING, SURPRISING ENTERTAINING ROMP INTO THE INTELLECTUAL NETHER REGIONS OF TODAY'S UNDER-THIRTY SET REVEALS THE DISTURBING AND, ULTIMATELY, INCONTROVERTIBLE TRUTH- CYBERCULTURE IS TURNING US INTO A SOCIETY OF KNOW-NOTHINGS. 'If you're the parent of someone under 20 and read only one non-fiction book this fall, make it this one. Bauerlein's simple but jarring thesis is that technology and the digital culture it has created are not broadening the horizon of the younger generation; they are narrowing it to a self-absorbed social universe that blocks out virtually everything else.' -Don Campbell, USA Today 'Throughout The Dumbest Generation, there are . . . keen insights into how the new digital world really is changing the way young people engage with information and the obstacles they face in integrating any of it meaningfully. These are insights that educators, parents, and other adults ignore at their peril.' -Lee Drutman, Los Angeles Times 'Demonstrates how the Internet is making young people increasingly ignorant about almost everything except online video games and the naricissism of self-authored Internet content.' - Andrew Keen, The Independent 'Argues that cultural and technological forces, far from opening up an exciting new world of learning and thinking, have conspired to create a level of public ignorance so high as to threaten our democracy. Adults are so busy imagining the ways that technology can improve classroom learning or improve the public debate that they've blinded themselves to the collective dumbing down that is actually taking place.' - David Robinson, The Wall Street Journal 'It wouldn't be going too far to call this book the Why Johnny Can't Read for the digital age.' - Booklist
The Internet age has produced a radical new style of human intelligence, worthy of both celebration and analysis. We learn more and retain it longer, write and think with global audiences, and even gain an ESP-like awareness of the world around us. Modern technology is making us smarter, better connected, and often deeper—both as individuals and as a society. In Smarter Than You Think Thompson shows that every technological innovation—from the written word to the printing press to the telegraph—has provoked the very same anxieties that plague us today. We panic that life will never be the same, that our attentions are eroding, that culture is being trivialized. But as in the past, we adapt—learning to use the new and retaining what’s good of the old. Thompson introduces us to a cast of extraordinary characters who augment their minds in inventive ways. There's the seventy-six-year old millionaire who digitally records his every waking moment—giving him instant recall of the events and ideas of his life, even going back decades. There's a group of courageous Chinese students who mounted an online movement that shut down a $1.6 billion toxic copper plant. There are experts and there are amateurs, including a global set of gamers who took a puzzle that had baffled HIV scientists for a decade—and solved it collaboratively in only one month. Smarter Than You Think isn't just about pioneers. It's about everyday users of technology and how our digital tools—from Google to Twitter to Facebook and smartphones—are giving us new ways to learn, talk, and share our ideas. Thompson harnesses the latest discoveries in social science to explore how digital technology taps into our long-standing habits of mind—pushing them in powerful new directions. Our thinking will continue to evolve as newer tools enter our lives. Smarter Than You Think embraces and extols this transformation, presenting an exciting vision of the present and the future.
"boyd's new book is layered and smart . . . It's Complicated will update your mind."--Alissa Quart, New York Times Book Review. "A fascinating, well-researched and (mostly) reassuring look at how today's tech-savvy teenagers are using social media."--People. "The briefest possible summary? The kids are all right, but society isn't."--Andrew Leonard, Salon. What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens' lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens' use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers' ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity. Boyd's conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.
The author of the acclaimed Proust and the Squid follows up with a lively, ambitious, and deeply informative book that considers the future of the reading brain and our capacity for critical thinking, empathy, and reflection as we become increasingly dependent on digital technologies. A decade ago, Maryanne Wolf's Proust and the Squid revealed what we know about how the brain learns to read and how reading changes the way we think and feel. Since then, the ways we process written language have changed dramatically with many concerned about both their own changes and that of children. New research on the reading brain chronicles these changes in the brains of children and adults as they learn to read while immersed in a digitally dominated medium. Drawing deeply on this research, this book comprises a series of letters Wolf writes to us--her beloved readers--to describe her concerns and her hopes about what is happening to the reading brain as it unavoidably changes to adapt to digital mediums. Wolf raises difficult questions, including: Will children learn to incorporate the full range of "deep reading" processes that are at the core of the expert reading brain? Will the mix of a seemingly infinite set of distractions for children's attention and their quick access to immediate, voluminous information alter their ability to think for themselves? With information at their fingertips, will the next generation learn to build their own storehouse of knowledge, which could impede the ability to make analogies and draw inferences from what they know? Will all these influences change the formation in children and the use in adults of "slower" cognitive processes like critical thinking, personal reflection, imagination, and empathy that comprise deep reading and that influence both how we think and how we live our lives? How can we preserve deep reading processes in future iterations of the reading brain? Concerns about attention span, critical reasoning, and over-reliance on technology are never just about children--Wolf herself has found that, though she is a reading expert, her ability to read deeply has been impacted as she has become increasingly dependent on screens. Wolf draws on neuroscience, literature, education, and philosophy and blends historical, literary, and scientific facts with down-to-earth examples and warm anecdotes to illuminate complex ideas that culminate in a proposal for a biliterate reading brain. Provocative and intriguing, Reader, Come Home is a roadmap that provides a cautionary but hopeful perspective on the impact of technology on our brains and our most essential intellectual capacities--and what this could mean for our future.