Connecting with Connectivism

I recently read Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? by Rita Kop and Adrian Hill.

There was a quote in the article that I found interesting, and worthy of exploration:

Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.

I totally agree with the quote. I didn’t grow up with much technology. I did take a computer class as an elective in high school, but it was definitely not a robust course. When I was in college, the internet was just taking off. I remember how difficult it was to get online via dial-up modems, and the annoying sounds they made.

I’ve often wondered what the result will be, 20 years from now, since people can just look up information they are wondering about. Everything you want to know is immediately available to you. Just the other day my grandmother was wondering who the first super bowl game teams were, and what year. She was amazed when I looked it up for her, on my phone, while we were talking on the phone. People seem to have no patience for research, as answers are usually immediately available on our phone, and people don’t seem to connect to one another in person as much (in comparison with my youth).

Here are some interesting resources/articles about these issues:

This Ted Talk is amazing to me. Sugata Mitra put a computer into a wall in New Delhi, and the kids not only taught themselves how to use a computer, but also taught other children. Very inspirational talk: (Links to an external site.)

I found this article that reviews what some psychiatrists and scientists think might be happening to “digital natives” (kids who have grown up in the digital age). Diminishing social skills quote: “When the brain spends more time on technology-related tasks and less time exposed to other people, it drifts away from fundamental social skills like reading facial expressions during conversation, Small asserts.” (Links to an external site.)

Here is an article that I found about how our devices are changing our sleep patterns. Insomnia and other issues quote: “Neuroscientists suspect (Links to an external site.) the glowing lights emitted by laptop, tablet and smartphone screens mess with your body’s internal light cues and sleep-inducing hormones. Exposure to bright lights can fool (Links to an external site.) the brain into thinking it’s still daytime, and can potentially have lasting effects on the body’s circadian rhythms (your internal sleep clock). Our eyes are especially sensitive to the blue light emitted by screens. This makes it harder to fall asleep, especially for those who already struggle with insomnia.”

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