Elec… what?

Today I read two articles (both found on the glorious world-wide web) about the internet and what can be summarized to be “internet literacy.”

The first article was titled, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and was written by Nicholas Carr, a writer who focuses on the discussion of technology culture, and economics. The Pulitzer Prize nominee explained in his article for the Atlantic that he felt as though his frequent interaction with the internet’s search engines and fast-paced atmosphere was dulling his intelligence.

Carr reminisced on the long days that he would begrudgingly spend sorting through texts and hard copies of material simply to write an article. Now, he says he can search Google and have hundreds of sources within seconds. But what is lost in the instant search that Carr would have achieved in the extended “old-fashioned” research methods?

The second article was definitely a struggle to understand because of the excessive use of jargon. I can see why Professor Price assigned the two articles together. I was able to relate to “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” when I began to read “Electracy.” In the article, the author explained “Electracy is to digital media what literacy is to alphabetic writing: an apparatus, or social machine, partly technological, partly institutional.” Electracy, according to the author (Gregory Ulmer), is something that should be taught to elementary schoolers along side reading and arithmetic. He said that the mind, in recent centuries, has been trained to learn technological and rhetorical dimensions of memory separately which has become a hindrance to the capacity of the mind. Ulmer is still in the process of trying to justify electracy as a subject of study to the education world, and its vague definition is likely the main road block.

The questions that I would find myself asking Carr and Ulmer would be:

Is there a way to use search engines more responsibly that would still allow a researcher to exhaust all options?

How does one teach electracy? What are some methods and strategies for teaching school children technological literacy?

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