I just made this point in a response to one of my blog posts last week.
More people in the 20th century read Shakespeare than any ever did in the 17th or 18th or even 19th centuries combined. And why? Because of technology.
And the thing is, for me, this illuminates the value of writing. Why? Because writing forces me to think and the thought above is a thought I’d never held before. It came to me through deeply ruminating about the impact of technology on today’s kids and classrooms.
So why do I blog like a fiend, posting probably 3,000 words a week online? Because writing sharpens my thinking and while not all of my thinking is remarkable or original (trust me, I am all too aware that I often score points in the “spectacularly unimpressive” category by people who take their time to read me), it does feed my brain in a way which I do find to be of benefit.
And to poo-poo the impact of all the online writing going on with today’s students is to, imho, disregard the thinking that they are doing in this day and age.
Me, I watched about 20 zillion hours of The Flintstones, The Brady Bunch and so on when I was a kid. Goodness knows how much better off I’d have been having had the ability to interact with my favorite media the way kids do. Instead, my brain was being trained to become passive mush – while being told to shop for sugary cereals and the such.
Sure, we can idealize how much better it was before all these video games and cell phones and blah, blah came to be but the idea that I can make a reference to the voodoo doll in the hokey Brady cave, Bam-Bam and the Fonz and have virtually everyone from my generation understand the reference because of OVER-EXPOSURE to this mindless dribble (okay, The Flintstones was cool, the Fonz in this day and age would get taken out back and pummeled and the Brady family… heck, even back then we knew that this was just weird) just further cements the point that things were not better when we were kids. At best, they were even. But in truth, today’s kids have access to scope, depth, and dynamism in a way which was never afforded to us… and to think that this will not result in a BURST of elevated thinking once they hit their 40’s (my age range) strikes me as cynical and arrogantly dismissive of genuine belief that the next generation can stand on the shoulders of our generation and take humanity to a higher and “better” level.