Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Is Google Making Us Stupid? - The Atlantic

Illustration by Guy Billout

“When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is re-created in the Net’s image. It injects the medium’s content with hyperlinks, blinking ads, and other digital gewgaws, and it surrounds the content with the content of all the other media it has absorbed. A new e-mail message, for instance, may announce its arrival as we’re glancing over the latest headlines at a newspaper’s site. The result is to scatter our attention and diffuse our concentration.

The Net’s influence doesn’t end at the edges of a computer screen, either. As people’s minds become attuned to the crazy quilt of Internet media, traditional media have to adapt to the audience’s new expectations. Television programs add text crawls and pop-up ads, and magazines and newspapers shorten their articles, introduce capsule summaries, and crowd their pages with easy-to-browse info-snippets. When, in March of this year, TheNew York Times decided to devote the second and third pages of every edition to article abstracts , its design director, Tom Bodkin, explained that the “shortcuts” would give harried readers a quick “taste” of the day’s news, sparing them the “less efficient” method of actually turning the pages and reading the articles. Old media have little choice but to play by the new-media rules.” (Nicholas Carr, The Atlantic)

‘Big Data’ Emerges as Key Theme at South by Southwest Interactive

‘Big Data’ Emerges as Key Theme at South by Southwest Interactive - Chronicle of Higher Education“Mr. Lanier, who is a scholar-at-large at Microsoft Research, suggested that companies like Facebook, which rely on selling information about their users’ behavior to advertisers, should find some way to compensate people for their posts. “People have to make money from what they do on there,” he said, noting that as computers replace many other kinds of jobs, more people will need to make money in information industries. ‘Facebook could evolve into something that helps people make a living,’ he added. ‘Capitalism won’t survive unless it does.’ ” (Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education)

What is the likely future of Generation AO in 2020?

What is the likely future of Generation AO in 2020?“Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project, a second co-author of the report says the experts called for a transformation of education. ‘There is a palpable concern among these experts that new social and economic divisions will emerge as those who are motivated and well-schooled reap rewards that are not matched by those who fail to master new media and tech literacies,’ he noted. ‘They called for reinvention of public education to teach those skills and help learners avoid some of the obvious pitfalls of a hyperconnected lifestyle.’ ” (Elon University and Pew)

Computer Coding: Not for Geeks Only

Computer Coding: Not for Geeks Only - Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Image: Bloomberg

“On Jan. 1, Sims and Bubinski put up a Web page urging people to make learning to code their New Year’s resolution. As of Jan. 24, over 360,000 people had signed the pledge and agreed to let Codecademy send them new lessons—homework, essentially—each week. ‘There’s a cohort of hundreds of thousands of people who are all learning at the same time,’ says Sims, ‘and they’ll be conversational in how to build basic Web applications and sites at the end of the year. It’s extraordinary.’ ” (Barrett W. Sheridan & Brendan Greeley, Bloomberg)

With Media, Parents and Kids Learn More Together

With Media, Parents and Kids Learn More Together - Mind/Shift

Image: Joan Ganz Cooney Center

“Lori Takeuchi, who wrote this report for the Cooney Center along with Reed Stevens, said what parents decide to do with their kids is largely based on their own childhood experiences. Those who grew up on the Internet or were young enough when they started using it in their daily lives have less fear about dangers.

‘They’re comfortable with fewer rules,’ Takeuchi said about the families she studied for the Families Matter Report she wrote earlier this year. Older parents, on the other hand, tend to use parental controls more. ‘Younger parents are willing to confront media and the unknown with their kids, whereas older parents aren’t.’ ” (Tina Barseghian, Mind/Shift)