Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Agnes Robertson
Last updated: May 17, 2019
The internet is our conduit for accessing a wide variety of information.
In his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” Nicholas Carr discusses how the use of the internet affects our thought process in being unable to focus on books or longer pieces of writing. The author feels that “someone, or something, has been tinkering with his brain” over the past few years (Carr 731). While he was easily able to delve into books and longer articles, Carr noticed a change in his research techniques after starting to use the internet. He found that his “concentration often started to drift after two or three pages” and it was a struggle to go back to the text (Carr 732). His assertion is that the neural circuits in his brain have changed as a result of surfing endlessly on the internet doing research.
He supports this statement by explaining how his fellow writers have had similar experiences in being unable to maintain their concentrations. In analyzing Carr’s argument, I disagree that the internet is slowly degrading our capacity for deep reading and thinking, thereby making us dumber. The Web and Google, indeed, are making us smarter by allowing us access to information through a rapid exchange of ideas and promoting the creativity and individualization of learning. With one easy click on the search button, Google grants entry to a reservoir of information for our use.
Carr acknowledges that the internet “has been a godsend to him as a writer” because of the ease of finding information rapidly (Carr 732). Before, he would spend days searching through lengthy articles for the same material. Thus, web-browsing proves that not only is the internet useful for finding relevant information, but it is a time-saving tool. In today’s generation especially, students do not have the time to spend countless hours swimming through books to find information that is actually pertinent to what they are searching.
What Google does is ease the life of students by granting them access to resources such as articles, books, websites, and other types of media, which saves their time and makes their busy lives more manageable (Wright 370). They get their information, and they get it fast. This extra time saved by using the Web provides students with the time to discover more information about a specific subject in order to deepen their knowledge.
Furthermore, students are able to increase their intelligence when they obtain more information in a shorter period of time instead of spending hours in a book. Carr’s premise is that the Web is interfering with our ability to focus on lengthy material. On the contrary, the internet is actually aiding our ability to focus on reading. This holds true for younger children, who are known as the digital natives in our generation.
In a research conducted by The National Center for Education shows that “by altering the mode of reading material from traditional paper-based reading to online reading,” the interest of elementary school children increased (Wright 367). Because children of the 21st century are surrounded by technology, they are more likely to gear towards digital media for their mode of learning. Contrary to Carr’s view that the internet “is chipping away the capacity for concentration and contemplation,” these children are more likely to read and focus as a result of technology (Carr 733). Furthermore, the use of digital media encourages students to read, building their vocabulary, which will enhance their reading comprehension and literacy skills for the future. Thus, reading online is an effective solution for encouraging educational activities (Wright 368).
Children will be more like to stay focused and learn the material as opposed to becoming discouraged when limited to sources such as books. Although the neural circuits in our brains may be changing, Carr cannot prove how the internet impacts our thinking. According to the article, “we still await the long-term neurological and psychological experiments that will provide a definitive of how internet affects cognition” (Carr 734). The malleability of our brains could in fact be a positive aspect that allows us to adapt to a culture driven by changing technology. In addition to Carr, Bruce Friedman says how the “Internet has altered his mental habits” (Carr 733). He can no longer absorb the contents of a long article because he believes the way he thinks has changed as a result of the internet. However, not everyone will experience the same results. Some may find it easier to understand longer articles while others will not experience a change in their reading habits.
We have undeniably adapted to the fast-paced method of receiving information; the Web has become our outlet for everything. We no longer bother to interpret a long text when Google is waiting with an answer. It is our first instinct, not so much negative because convenience has become our prime goal. It is this convenience that makes us avid lovers of technology, which have and will continue to aid in our education for generations. The internet can change our thinking, but it will not harm our learning. The use of the Web promotes creativity in education by allowing students to make connections and fostering individuality. Researchers argue that “technology will close the gap between teachers, and the traditional methods of teaching, and students of the new generation” (Wright 368). When students read online, it will give them and the teachers the opportunity to connect and share knowledge and build their relationships through literacy activities (Wright 368).
Through the Web, students can choose which method of learning they like best. They can either choose auditory books or visual stories, which encourage originality and allows them to arrive at creative solutions to problems. Through these methods, students become engaged in learning.
This love of learning will carry on in subsequent years and because of technology, students will continue to be creative in their methods of learning. Last but not least, technology plays an important role in the individualization of our learning by providing us different forms of media from which we can attain information. “The internet is becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and our TV,” and because we have access to it from every angle, we are now reading more than ever before (Carr 736).
Not everyone enjoys learning through books or solely the internet; we have cell phones, iPads, and various other forms of media. So it is faulty of Carr to think that the use of the internet is having a negative impact on people’s reading because it is not. There are people who can stay focused on longer pieces of writing on the internet and enjoy it more than reading it in a book. More so, they might even learn better than they would by reading it. In a study conducted by Grimshaw and colleagues, they measured the enjoyment level of students reading a book. The study showed that the “enjoyment level of reading was higher for students reading the e-book with oral-narration versus those reading e-books without narration or those reading the printed version” (Wright 369). Students enjoy the digital format a lot more and therefore learn better.
Moreover, the availability of various forms of technology helps us learn by individualizing our experiences. In conclusion, technology has a positive impact in our learning by helping us gain access to limitless information that would otherwise be difficult. The internet promotes creativity and individualization of our learning because we have access to it from various forms of media. Instead of demolishing our ability to read and learn, the internet aids us by giving us rapid information that would otherwise take days of research through books to attain. Therefore, the internet should not be viewed as the cause for our lack of intelligence, but rather the reason for our vast knowledge.
Technology has revolutionized our learning and will continue to serve as the prime tool in our education.