This is what I have just written on my Twitter (@equshay):
“If something comes up, I look up, I catch up ….”
I think that pretty much sums up what I, like many others, do in the way of learning these days. It’s the digital-age learning mode: we come up with a problem, a question, a shot of curiousity, reach our smart gadgets, and a few clicks later we’ll be face to face with the answers or possible answers.
How much enlightening is it? Are we becoming a lot smarter, wiser(?), now that information is at our finger’s tip and only a click away?
The answers might not be that simple — not as simple as a-click-away solution that the digital-age is offering. The easier it is to access information, the more reliant we are on our smart gadgets, the lazier we have become in harnessing the powers of our own memory, our brain, to really store and retain what we need to retain for future access and use.
In that case, the ease of access to answers (at least in the form of information) may potentially make us ‘dumber’: we as a species are in the process of shrinking our own brain muscles which we, over the millennia, have managed to flex and, in doing so, have helped define our intellectual superiority over other species.
However, as convenient as it appears to be, this conclusion may not be all there is. Extensive, in-depth, and interdisciplinary research still needs to be done, and it may be decades before we can get a clearer picture of what “come up, look up, and catch up” mode of learning has done and can do to us as a species.
11 January 2014