TECHNOLOGY AND THE RISE OF MILITANT IGNORANCE: THE MORE WE HAVE, THE LESS WE KNOW

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(Mensaje se repite en Español)

With ubiquituous Smartphone technology now giving us access to more information than we have ever had access to before, one might reasonably expect that this should have already led to an explosion of what student know in our society. However, what has actually taken place as any teacher can tell you who has to deal with this plague of cellphones in the classroom is that the access to greater knowledge has actually caused a steep decline in what students know and their ability to think and learn in a manner that builds and develops brain power through a process of sequential thinking. Clearly, cellphones are sabotaging normal human development in profound ways that those in power seem unwilling to take notice of and address.

Up until this generation a student's ability to deal with more and more complex bodies of information as they progressed through school was the measure of their being considered educated. Now this fundamental educational process has been completely undermined by smartphones that are rapidly making us ignorant in the midst of what should be a feast of knowledge that could be used to address human betterment, but conspicuously is not.

The first victim of the cellphone has been the attention span. It is not uncommon to walk into a classroom and see at least half the students with earbuds connected to their phones, so that the teacher has been effectively tuned out. Or even if the student is marginally listening, they are also texting or playing a video game at the same time, which logically precludes the focused concentration necessary to learn. As a result of students relying on computers to do the thinking, they are able to completely avoid the normal and moderate discomfort necessary to stimulate their own brain's development. This manifests itself in what has become an unnecessarily painful process where students write as little as possible in the most basic of terms without developing any ideas with the in depth analysis it demands. Even when the student or their phones identify the issues, they are unable to coherently link these ideas or conclusions together in any meaningful way from the given facts. This seems counterintuitive given the access their Smartphones have literally put at their fingertips.

My criticism should not be construed as a condemnation of computer technology, but rather as a condemnation of how it has been trivialized in a dangerous manner designed to create compliant sheep, instead of the free thinking, engaged, and knowledgeable citizenry able to keep their government and the plutocracy that now runs it in check. Just one example of a better use for this technology might be in the developing a 21st century leading edge teaching model where students are able to collaborate online on any given assignment and where the insights and mistakes made by any members of the group could redound to the benefit of any of the other groups members who looked at the work of the others in their class. All the different approaches, insights, and teacher corrected mistakes put online would allow any student to have access to a far greater body of knowledge and approaches than any one student could ever come up with on their own.

Science has already employed this approach in targeting what have been up until now an approach for dealing with solution resistance diseases like cancer and diabetes. These thorny problems are now farmed out around the world to scientific working groups that contemporaneously address various aspects of these difficult problems, while coordinating their work in real time. The result is that the solution to effectively treating once hard to cure diseases or other solution-resistant human problems has now put their solution in sight.

As a child of the 1960s, I must confess that I believe our failure to use computer technology to develop independent capablity is not an accident, since allowing "We the people" to develop individual power would in the aggregate change the self-serving agenda of the corporate oligarchies that have only tightened their control on this country's thought and institutions. Anonymous texting is no substitution for the true freedom of association of people and ideas that is so necessary in a true democracy to question authority in any meaningful way.

If you or someone you know has been targeted and are in the process of being dismissed and need legal defense, get in touch:

Lenny@perdaily.com

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En Español

Con la tecnología Smartphone ubicua ahora que nos da acceso a más información que la que hemos tenido acceso a la anterior, se podría esperar razonablemente que esto ya debería haber dado lugar a una explosión de lo que el estudiante sabe en nuestra sociedad. Sin embargo, lo que ha ocurrido en realidad como cualquier maestro puede decir que tiene que hacer frente a esta plaga de los teléfonos celulares en el aula es que el acceso a un mayor conocimiento de hecho ha provocado un fuerte descenso en lo que los alumnos saben y su capacidad de pensar y aprender en de manera que construye y desarrolla el poder del cerebro a través de un proceso de pensamiento secuencial. Claramente, los teléfonos celulares están saboteando el desarrollo humano normal de maneras profundas que están en el poder no parecen dispuestos a tomar nota de y dirección.
Hasta esta generación la capacidad del estudiante para hacer frente con más y más complejos cuerpos de la información a medida que avanzaba a través de la escuela era la medida de su ser considerado educado. Ahora bien, este proceso educativo fundamental ha sido completamente minada por smartphones que están haciendo rápidamente nos ignorante en medio de lo que debería ser una fiesta del conocimiento que se podría utilizar para abordar el mejoramiento humano, pero no es visible.
La primera víctima del teléfono móvil ha sido la capacidad de atención. No es raro entrar en un salón de clases y ver por lo menos la mitad de los estudiantes con los auriculares conectados a sus teléfonos, por lo que el maestro ha sido afinado con eficacia. O incluso si el estudiante está marginalmente escuchando, también están enviando mensajes de texto o jugar un juego de video al mismo tiempo, lo que excluye, lógicamente, la concentración enfocada necesario aprender. Como resultado de los estudiantes que dependen de las computadoras para hacer la forma de pensar, que son capaces de evitar por completo la incomodidad normal y moderada necesario para estimular el desarrollo de su propio cerebro. Esto se manifiesta en lo que se ha convertido en un proceso innecesariamente doloroso donde los estudiantes escriben lo menos posible en el más básico de los términos sin desarrollar cualquier idea con el análisis en profundidad que exige. Aun cuando el estudiante o sus teléfonos identifican los problemas, no son capaces de enlazar coherentemente estas ideas o conclusiones juntos de una manera significativa a partir de los hechos dados. Esto parece contradictorio dado el acceso a sus teléfonos inteligentes han puesto literalmente a su alcance.
Mi crítica no debe interpretarse como una condena de la tecnología informática, sino más bien como una condena de la forma en que se ha trivializado de forma peligrosa diseñado para crear ovejas compatible, en lugar del pensamiento libre, comprometido y ciudadanos informados capaces de mantener su gobierno y la plutocracia que ahora funciona bajo control. Sólo un ejemplo de un mejor uso de esta tecnología podría estar en el desarrollo de un modelo de enseñanza vanguardia del siglo 21, donde los estudiantes son capaces de colaborar en línea en cualquier misión determinada y donde las ideas y los errores cometidos por los miembros del grupo podrían redundar en beneficio de cualquiera de los otros miembros de grupos que consultaron el trabajo de los demás de su clase. Todos los diferentes enfoques, visiones, y los errores de maestros corregido puestas en línea permitirían que cualquier estudiante tenga acceso a un mayor conjunto de conocimientos y enfoques que cualquier estudiante jamás podría llegar a por su cuenta.
La ciencia ya ha empleado este enfoque en la selección de lo que han sido hasta ahora un enfoque para hacer frente a las enfermedades de resistencia solución como el cáncer y la diabetes. Estos problemas espinosos están arrendados todo el mundo para grupos de trabajo científicos que abordan simultáneamente varios aspectos de estos problemas difíciles, mientras que la coordinación de su trabajo en tiempo real. El resultado es que la solución a tratar eficazmente una vez difíciles de curar enfermedades u otros problemas humanos solución resistente ahora ha puesto su solución a la vista.
Como hijo de la década de 1960, debo confesar que creo que nuestra falta de uso de la tecnología informática para desarrollar capablity independiente no es un accidente, ya que permite "Nosotros, el pueblo" para desarrollar el poder individual que en el agregado cambiar la agenda egoísta de las oligarquías corporativas que sólo tienen apretaron su control sobre el pensamiento y las instituciones de este país. Anonymous mensajes de texto hay sustitución para la verdadera libertad de asociación de personas e ideas que es tan necesaria en una verdadera democracia a cuestionar la autoridad de una manera significativa.

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2 Comments

Lenny, you are very articulate. I think the cellphone issue is a VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM that is often ignored or downplayed.

Students addicted to their phones cannot and will not focus on learning the subject matter. As a result, many of them can't earn decent grades unless their teacher passes them along. Teachers passing them along are NOT doing it for the students. They are doing it as a CYA technique to protect themselves against vindictive administrators.

Part of the problem might be that, as an institution, education cannot compete against the stuff on the phones for entertainment value. An average teacher's lesson is BORING to the students and an average teacher does not have the resources needed to make their instruction as entertaining. That might not be a problem for students who want to do well in school and can put up with the boredom. However, for students whose abilities are far below basic grade level skills, this problem means that they are not likely to learn the subject matter.

I think there should be enforced rules prohibiting cell phone use during school hours. I know there are some who claim that students can learn from their phones but (in my opinion) that is ONLY true for responsible students who won't abuse the privilege. That is not true for most students in urban schools who are performing below grade level.

I admit I am not as articulate as you, Lenny (if at all). I think YOU should apply to become superintendent of LAUSD because you can provide a perspective that an average administrator cannot even think of.

It is not that teacher prepared lessons are boring. Rather, it is that due to the dumbing down of literacy with cellphones and other monosyllabic technologies, students do not comprehend enough language or the ability to meaningfully sequence it together to understand what the lesson is about. My favorite example of this phenomenon is labeling a social studies teacher a racist, because he discusses race in the context of the civil rights movement. Student, "You're a racist, because you talk about race." Administrators wanting to target any teacher who is still attempting to actually teach are enamored of this illiteracy driven and simplistic thinking that now is the rule and not the exception in our schools.

On the other hand, try going into a private expensive school and witnessing the traditional good education that is nowhere to be found in poor minority packed public schools. But a corporate owned Pravdaesque press will never report this phenomenon, which is the antithesis of what this country is supposed to be about "with liberty and just [and education ?] for all."

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