The Shallows: The End


I did not realize I was on Carr’s last chapter. Notes make up the final 20% of the book.

Carr focuses on two themes. Technology can alienate people from their natural state. For instance, when mechanical clocks were invented people began to eat, wake and sleep according to the clock rather than their natural rhythms.

Second technology not only amplifies is also numbs. Binoculars improve distance vision, but leave the use blind to what is nearby. Cursive is disappearing from the culture as keyboarding expands.

So he revisits the earlier chapter where he mentioned that transformations of the human existence have happened before and we should be reflective of whether we want to accept our digital lifestyle.

A single anecdote struck me as I read the book. As a teacher it was as directly important as the main theme. When people were trained to solve a logic problem on a computer program that gives too many hints they did not learn as well as on a computer program that made the user do the work without hints. Many math publisher software programs are skill based and give plentiful hints. I feel they have had an impact on student learning. Maybe I will turn off the help features next semester and see whether the students rebel at practicing without the immediate support. The software would still give them immediate feedback about right and wrong. It just won’t tell them what to do seconds later.

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