Adlt 641-4:”Stupid is as stupid does”

What is the internet doing to our brains?  Is Google Making us Stupid?  Ask anyone over the age of sixty and you’re likely to find a very different response than from someone born during the last twenty-five years.  I participate in many different COPs where I have established weak ties with a variety of individuals.  A good share of these links are with senior citizens, or at least those with ten years my senior.  I’ve learned to leave my smart phone in my purse during dinner conversations out of respect for those unschooled in the art of multiple media tasking.  I  navigate carefully through a conversation that might otherwise be littered with references to the web. I consider the “technology” politics of those in my company before I proceed with my conversation. Conversely, I find it rather perplexing when “Millennials” query as to my generations ability to live without digital tools.    We didn’t think about it! I am part of what is referred to as the”Sandwich Generation.”  Individuals who are linked between those caring for older family members while raising younger members. I don’t think that it’s a stretch to suggest that the sandwich generation is also wedged between the technologically-terrified and the technologically-savvy members of our society.

I love technology with a passion and am ready to jump on-board with the latest program. I envision endless possibilities for educational use. Gardener Campbell, feels the passion, why can’t I?  Two years ago I was asked to teach a class with an outdated textbook and a state curriculum guide as the sole tools for navigation. Google became the “just in time” resource tool that I needed.  So what’s the problem with Google?  How can a search engine make a person stupid? It was the lifeline that I needed to keep from being engulfed by frustration and standards of learning.  Do you know understand  The Aral Sea Crisis? Can you visualize the affects of salinity from 1977 until 2012?  Do you even know where the sea is located? Try asking a typical adolescent student to understand the concept of human environment interaction without the use of the internet and then understand how overwhelming it is to teach WITHOUT Google!

Nicholas Carr makes a interesting case for careful consideration when he says, “Maybe I’m just a worrywart.  Just as there’s a tendency to glorify technological progress, there’s a counter tendency to expect the worst of every new tool or machine.”  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I was at the end of the line when mechanical skills were being handed out.  My printer has sat in “broken” mode for a long time simply because I have no desire to get on-line with the service department to consider what connection isn’t working and why.  The conversation with the help desk isn’t the problem just as the machine isn’t the problem. Personal copy machines are a modern marvel, as far as I am concerned.   What surfaces is my lack of sophistication when encountering technological difficulties. This is what the “Geek Squad” from Best Buy does, right? However, this is an clear example of me being stupid. Stupid about technology.

Each time I consider Carr’s writing on this topic, I am reminded of the film Forrest GumpHe was repeatedly asked, “What are you stupid or something?”  when encountering someone who thinks or processes information differently then him.  This was my first reaction to Carr’s article.  A search does not have the capacity to “make me stupid.”   What could he possibly mean by this statement? I find the internet to be an exciting thrill ride on the information highway.  My students are perplexed about a life with limited technological resources. When they ask, “How could you stand livin’ in them olden days?” I remind them that we were raised to find ways to occupy ourselves, to strive for balance and to recognize when enough of a good thing is enough. The law requires drivers to take a written and road test, as well as purchase insurance, in order to use an automobile.  It’s a pity that we do not do the same before operating a computer and engaging the internet!

A “pancake person,” I am not, but a “sandwich person” I am! Sometimes it’s difficult to live in the state of “squish!”

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7 thoughts on “Adlt 641-4:”Stupid is as stupid does”

  1. “I don’t think that it’s a stretch to suggest that the sandwich generation is also wedged between the technologically-terrified and the technologically-savvy members of our society.” Great point! Funny, I also thought of the Forrest Gump line when reading Carr! And I can really relate to living in the state of “squish”! So, can technology really make us stupid unless we foolishly disregard sound reasoning in the process of its application?

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    1. Nah…technology opens the door for us to do stupid things. I’ve had to really discipline myself to stay focused and not become sucked into the vortex! There have been a few times where I looked at the time on my computer and realized that my son was going to miss the bus if I didn’t get going! LOL Stupid is as stupid does….

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  2. I love this post, Laurie! I really appreciate the unique perspective that you bring, as well as your passion for the growing world of technology (especially when you can distinctly recall an existence without the internet). The ideas that you share regarding generational differences are very interesting. I almost wonder if having lived a memorable portion of your life in a world without a great deal of f IT has helped to fuel your love for modern technology (vs. the Millenials, who have never known anything else). What do you think?

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    1. The baby boomers that I know have the financial means to purchase the technology. Many struggle beyond the basic programs. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen complaints about the new FB timeline! All of the complaints are from people my age. I never see anything posted by anyone under the age of 30. I also notice, with regularity, comments about how my friends need to ask their kids how to post photos. (repeatedly-over and over!) Cropping and editing rarely occur. I will share the blog that I created, using WordPress, for my art docent group soon. I’ll also share with the student docents. I will be interesting to see how they react. Many young people seem to “play” with technology, but don’t necessarily know how to use it effectively. This came through loud and clear through the Twitter readings and the debate. Just my observations…

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  3. That sandwich reference was the one I was going to quote, too! My parents are in their early 70s, and while my Dad’s career was in IT, called MIS or management information systems back in the day, and my Mom is a whiz with Access dbases, they are totally against jumping on board with social media. I’m happy to be squished in the middle between their generation and the generation of my nephews who are masters at what you called multiple media tasking. I’m old enough to have done my college papers on a typewriter but still young enough to tweet about my latest blog. 🙂

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    1. LOL I remember purchasing a powder blue Smithcorona typewriter to college with me. In a way, it’s great to be a sandwich-still young enough with lots of time to learn new things! (I don’t know how I would survive without social media!)

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  4. I think being mechanical is not at all related to being technologically savvy. When our printer breaks, I hide. But when there’s a chance to explore a new form of social media or a new app? I jump in!
    The notion of balance is really important–it’s clear that we will all continue to Google but it’s essential to balance that activity with something else.
    As always, I love when you talk about your class. It really gives us non-teachers some insight.

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