Is modern technology making students dumber?

Mar 4, 2019 by

Nicholas Carr, the most famous harbinger of the technology concern, with his book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains was the first one to spread the concern about the brain damage that technology does. Well, he was wrong about the brain damage, but our pocket brains are having a serious effect on us and our memory.

It would be too bold to say that technology is making us dumb. The easiest way to explain what kind of effect does internet and smartphones (dominant technology) have on our brains and our lives is explaining by the ‘google effect’. The studies were done by Columbia, Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard Universities. Students were asked questions which they had to answer or just say that they don’t know the answer.

What they found out was, students who didn’t know the answer, focused more on Internet terminology in follow up tests. That means that internet vocabulary is tiet with missing information in our minds. Other experiment had students writing trivia information and they were told some answers will be erased and that others will be saved. When they were told to recall information, they could only do so with answers they thought that wouldn’t be saved. This experiment proves how students today are better at remembering where to find the information and whether it is accessible, rather than remembering it.

Even Socrates had concern about writing, he thought that it diminishes person’s capacity of becoming wise. But the thing is, we stopped even writing things down, we use smartphones to remember for us. You don’t need science to answer the question whether technology is reducing our memory capacity or not, just ask your parents or grandparents how many phone numbers they knew when they were young and how many people generally remember now.

So, it’s far from brain damage, it’s just that our brains are rewiring synapses for the new information, process called brain plasticity. Some may argue it is not a bad thing after all, technology is making things easier, and by that we mean memorizing as well. It is thinking for us so that we can have more time doing other stuff. Do all the people use it for its advantages? Is it just an excuse to be lazy? Who is getting smarter, us or the tech?  

What about the students? Is technology an advantage or does it make us dumb? Well, the answer isn’t that simple and it is stupid to boil it down to pure yes or no. It all depends how you use it. We all have that luck of accessibility, carrying an Alexandrian library with yourself is a huge advantage but do you use it for good purposes? Would you rather learn how to orient yourself rather than using Google Maps?

Technology is surely decreasing our actionable intelligence. Maybe it can make us knowledgeable but aren’t we trading the real knowledge with something that isn’t reliable? Just by being online doesn’t make it true. All of those raw informations are just a cheap convenience. The real extension of our minds is learning itself. Smartphones should be the means, not the end.

But no one can dispute that in this modern era, where everything is rushing headlessly to make the ends meet, little gadgets are far more than helpful, better to say lifesaving.

You don’t have to sit in the library for hours searching for the necessary information, it could be just a few clicks away on the google search. You don’t even have to write an essay, just tipe write me an essay and you can have a reliable, relevant and confidential essay, so that you can do other tasks that you are at due for your terms. Best of all, some universities even upload classes online, so if you are unable to attend, you won’t miss a thing.

If you are diligent all of this is useful right? But how many of you know someone who is misusing it? Be smart, smarter than the technology, it is just 0s and 1s, but you are a living flesh, don’t let it outsmart you.

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