Slice of Life

Slice of Life
Join the slicing for the month of March

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Digging Deep

I joined a technology book club last month. The book I am reading is, The Shallows (What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains) by Nicholas Carr. If you have not read this book and have interest in brain research, history, and how technology is changing our society, then I highly recommend the book.
It is interesting and perhaps a bit scary to realize we, as a society, are rewiring our brains. Carr talks extensively about how this fast-paced information overload keeps us moving at high speeds skimming the surface of a lot of information. He opens the readers eyes to lack of depth in our search for information. He says we have less ability to stay focused on one topic and find ourselves going off on side trips.
Perhaps this is why, as an “old teacher” I am appalled at the surface teaching I have been witnessing. I have been having a difficult time understanding why so many people are teaching to the test. I thought it was out of fear but perhaps it is because they don’t know how to dig deep with their kids and get great results. I did not grow up in an information highway. I was well into my career by the time the Internet hit our schools.
Don’t get me wrong. I love all the techie tools. I use them at home and in my classroom. My classroom has four computers, five ipads, an lcd projector, and a document camera. I use my iphone for all sorts of things such as taking photos, recording kid’s reading, and previewing apps.
I try to never limit my teaching to test results, curriculum, “I Can” statements, or the baseline of what is expected. The sky is the limit. We start with what is expected and open our minds to even more. I don’t want kids memorizing, I want them to understand and then take that concept they understand and apply it across the curriculum and throughout their life. The unit of study never ends…there is no finale.


  1. There is a lot of research now underway about young kids, their brains and technology, and I am interested to know what they do find. Like you, I use technology and I scaffold it for my students (and my children) and yet ... and yet .... I do worry about what it is doing to their brains.

  2. Technology is a double edged sword. Like everything else we must learn how to use it. How to control our interaction with it. It is exciting what they already know about our brain. If our brain can be re-wired by happenstance imagine what could be accomplished if we understand how this happens. Think of the cognitive possibilities - what we might be able to do in a positive way.

  3. Your post really made me think all day (I read it earlier but did not have time to respond) I totally agree that technology - like ALL innovation - has pitfalls as well as benefits. While I spend HOURS preparing great technology based games, like test prep Jeopardy, I also do lots of old fashioned reading and writing on paper. I do wonder and even worry about the amount of stimulation that young chidren get from all this technology. Will it make them only want books that talk and have hyperlinks?
    Whenever I feel like the world is moving too fast, I take a few minutes to go through my Grandmother's teaching materials from the early 20th Century. (yes she saved lots of materials and books when she left teaching to marry and raise a family). I am reminded that 100 years ago there were few books, fewer visual supports, and fewer options for kids who learned differently. So, I guess we just have to be respectful of all the advances while holding onto what we know kids need.

  4. I love your closing. The unit of study never ends - there is no finale. Great point about going deep and understanding.