Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [WWWEDU] Re: Chronicle Article on Online Literacy [was; Technology Doesn't Dumb Us Down.]

Expand Messages
  • Claude Almansi
    Steve, re: ... Miles and you are both talking about the same article by Mark Bauerlein from the Chronicle of Higher Education
    Message 1 of 14 , Oct 2, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      Steve, re:

      On Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 6:00 AM, Dr. Steve Eskow <drseskow@...> wrote:
      > Miles, we may be talking about different articles. Here is a chunk of the
      > article from the Chronicle of Higher Education I'm citing:

      Miles and you are both talking about the same article by Mark
      Bauerlein from the Chronicle of Higher Education
      <http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i04/04b01001.htm>. The difference is
      that Miles has read the whole text by Jacob Nielsen that Bauerlein
      quotes, and thus can measure the distorting effect of its quotation
      out of context by Bauerlein. Bauerlein actually sort of acknowledges
      it by using inverted commas aroung "alert" in <<A decade ago, he
      [Nielsen] issued an "alert" entitled "How Users Read on the Web.">>.
      In fact, Nielsen's paper (see
      <http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html>) is a description, not an
      alert at all.

      So as to:
      >(...)
      >
      > What Nielsen as well as the author seem to be saying that onscreen reading
      > generates styles of rapid and partial reading that work against the habits
      > of mind and study that such complex structures of thought require.
      >
      > These writers do not think they are "extrapolating" from the data, but
      > presenting it. Nielsen says that slow and deep reading requires habits of
      > engagement with language and ideas that years of childhood involvement with
      > computers and cellphones discourage. Is there evidence that he is wrong?

      You can't drag Nielsen into this, he only talks about onscreen
      reading, and says nothing about what onscreen reading habits do to
      other reading styles. You are falling for (into?) Bauerlein's
      fallacious use of Nielsen's text.
      >
      > There are indeed scoffers who refuse to acknowledge the transformations in
      > our ways of knowing generated by the new communications technology. There
      > seems to be a counterpart class of technophiles who talk endlessly about
      > "21st century technology" and shakeoff any criticisms of the new tools as
      > coming from technophobes.
      > Perhaps on this list we need to watch out for technophilia.

      I fully agree: technophiles in the middle 90's drove me to arrant
      luddism for years. But I'm not sure the technophile -phobe dichotomy
      is pertinent here. The division seems to be more between people who do
      serious research (Nielsen) and people who hijack extracts from this
      serious research to boost their own ideological agenda (Bauerlein).

      Nielsen's research only covers web reading. It would be great to have
      a further research, as serious as Nielsen's, on the evolution of
      people's capacity to read complex texts before and after generalized
      access to the web.

      Who knows? Maybe the results would be similar to those of a French
      enquiry about literacy based on an analysis of students exam papers
      for the Certificat d'études (end of compulsory school diploma) over a
      century: it revealed that although each generation had complained that
      the next one was becoming abominably illiterate, literacy had actually
      greatly improved over the years.

      Best

      Claude
    • Claude Almansi
      Thanks for the appreciation, Bill. I m not erudite, though, I m just old enough to have done things with others using books in traditional libraries,
      Message 2 of 14 , Oct 2, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        Thanks for the appreciation, Bill. I'm not erudite, though, I'm just
        old enough to have done things with others using books in traditional
        libraries, photocopiers, scissors, glue, and mechanical typewriters in
        pre-digital times. I loved - still do - libraries with their at times
        crazy access procedures. Not the crazy procedures per se, but the nice
        dialogues with librarians about how to cricumvent these procedures. So
        I would probably have liked the simplification of finding so many
        digital texts online anyway, but what I really enjoy is the
        possibility to do things with texts with others online.

        And then there's the syntax underlaying these digital things, at
        varying depths. As a former language teacher, I love syntax.

        Best

        Claude



        On Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 7:10 AM, <TeacherBC@...> wrote:
        >
        > Sadly, I do not know enough to comment....but I do twitter...and I do
        > not presume to insult those who know less bu being condescending....and
        > I do facebook....and I am about to ask several thousand former students
        > (and their friends) for a little money (5-20 dollars each) for a grant
        > I am proposing to bring iPods, wireless communication, and bluetooth
        > keyboards to the poor families in the district in which I teach...
        >
        > Dr. Eskow, I love your point of view...most times....Claude, all of the
        > time....Bonnie and many others, almost all of the time...However, not
        > as erudite as most of you, I feel a bit insulted for twittering all of
        > the time...
        >
        > Bill
        >
        > teacherbc@...
        > principal
        > South Amboy, New Jersey
        >
      • Taran Rampersad
        Twittering by itself is not a sin. :-) But isn t it really just sending text messages? Whoever renamed text messaging to a companies brand of it is really
        Message 3 of 14 , Oct 2, 2008
        • 0 Attachment
          Twittering by itself is not a sin. :-) But isn't it really just sending
          text messages? Whoever renamed text messaging to a companies brand of it
          is really brilliant.

          The iPod thing does sound interesting - I do believe that the MP3
          players such as the iPod (there are cheaper alternatives) are underused
          in education.

          TeacherBC@... wrote:
          Sadly, I do not know enough to comment....but I do twitter...and I do
          >
          > not presume to insult those who know less bu being condescending....and
          > I do facebook....and I am about to ask several thousand former students
          > (and their friends) for a little money (5-20 dollars each) for a grant
          > I am proposing to bring iPods, wireless communication, and bluetooth
          > keyboards to the poor families in the district in which I teach...
          >
          > Dr. Eskow, I love your point of view...most times....Claude, all of the
          > time....Bonnie and many others, almost all of the time...However, not
          > as erudite as most of you, I feel a bit insulted for twittering all of
          > the time...
          >
          > Bill
          >
          > teacherbc@... <mailto:teacherbc%40aol.com>
          > principal
          > South Amboy, New Jersey
          >


























          --
          Taran Rampersad
          cnd@...

          http://www.knowprose.com
          http://www.your2ndplace.com
          http://www.opendepth.com
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/knowprose/

          "Criticize by Creating" - Michelangelo
          "The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine." - Nikola Tesla
        • Dr. Steve Eskow
          Claude, Bauerlein quotes Nielsen as saying this:
          Message 4 of 14 , Oct 2, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            Claude,

            Bauerlein quotes Nielsen as saying this:

            <<Nielsen concisely outlines the difference: "I continue to believe in the linear, author-driven narrative for educational purposes. I just don't believe the Web is optimal for delivering this experience. Instead, let's praise old narrative forms like books and sitting around a flickering campfire — or its modern-day counterpart, the PowerPoint projector," he says. "We should accept that the Web is too fast-paced for big-picture learning. No problem; we have other media, and each has its strengths. At the same time, the Web is perfect for narrow, just-in-time learning of information nuggets — so long as the learner already has the conceptual framework in place to make sense of the facts.">>

            Is this an accurate quote? Does it properly represent Nielsen's conclusions about the Net and the Web as educational tools? Do we here agree with Nielsen that the Web is not optimal for "big-picture learning"?

            Bauerlein also cites a number of studies which find little or no educational benefit from current uses of "edtech." Has he distorted the evidence by selecting only those studies that suit his case?

            My own position is naively Deweyan. Dewey proposed that schools should provide the important learnings that the family and the workplace and the other institutions of society did not provide.

            Students learn much without schools from video games and twittering text messages on their cell phones. They do not learn to engage thougtfully with the complexities in great literature and and the physical and social sciences.

            This superb technology allows me to think with you and others around the world I will never see, and that is a great gift.


            ---- Claude Almansi <claude.almansi@...> wrote:
            > Steve, re:

            On Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 6:00 AM, Dr. Steve Eskow <drseskow@...> wrote:
            > Miles, we may be talking about different articles. Here is a chunk of the
            > article from the Chronicle of Higher Education I'm citing:

            Miles and you are both talking about the same article by Mark
            Bauerlein from the Chronicle of Higher Education
            <http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i04/04b01001.htm>. The difference is
            that Miles has read the whole text by Jacob Nielsen that Bauerlein
            quotes, and thus can measure the distorting effect of its quotation
            out of context by Bauerlein. Bauerlein actually sort of acknowledges
            it by using inverted commas aroung "alert" in <<A decade ago, he
            [Nielsen] issued an "alert" entitled "How Users Read on the Web.">>.
            In fact, Nielsen's paper (see
            <http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html>) is a description, not an
            alert at all.

            So as to:
            >(...)
            >
            > What Nielsen as well as the author seem to be saying that onscreen reading
            > generates styles of rapid and partial reading that work against the habits
            > of mind and study that such complex structures of thought require.
            >
            > These writers do not think they are "extrapolating" from the data, but
            > presenting it. Nielsen says that slow and deep reading requires habits of
            > engagement with language and ideas that years of childhood involvement with
            > computers and cellphones discourage. Is there evidence that he is wrong?

            You can't drag Nielsen into this, he only talks about onscreen
            reading, and says nothing about what onscreen reading habits do to
            other reading styles. You are falling for (into?) Bauerlein's
            fallacious use of Nielsen's text.
            >
            > There are indeed scoffers who refuse to acknowledge the transformations in
            > our ways of knowing generated by the new communications technology. There
            > seems to be a counterpart class of technophiles who talk endlessly about
            > "21st century technology" and shakeoff any criticisms of the new tools as
            > coming from technophobes.
            > Perhaps on this list we need to watch out for technophilia.

            I fully agree: technophiles in the middle 90's drove me to arrant
            luddism for years. But I'm not sure the technophile -phobe dichotomy
            is pertinent here. The division seems to be more between people who do
            serious research (Nielsen) and people who hijack extracts from this
            serious research to boost their own ideological agenda (Bauerlein).

            Nielsen's research only covers web reading. It would be great to have
            a further research, as serious as Nielsen's, on the evolution of
            people's capacity to read complex texts before and after generalized
            access to the web.

            Who knows? Maybe the results would be similar to those of a French
            enquiry about literacy based on an analysis of students exam papers
            for the Certificat d'études (end of compulsory school diploma) over a
            century: it revealed that although each generation had complained that
            the next one was becoming abominably illiterate, literacy had actually
            greatly improved over the years.

            Best

            Claude
          • Dr. Steve Eskow
            Claude, Bauerlein quotes Nielsen as saying this:
            Message 5 of 14 , Oct 2, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              Claude,

              Bauerlein quotes Nielsen as saying this:

              <<Nielsen concisely outlines the difference: "I continue to believe in the linear, author-driven narrative for educational purposes. I just don't believe the Web is optimal for delivering this experience. Instead, let's praise old narrative forms like books and sitting around a flickering campfire — or its modern-day counterpart, the PowerPoint projector," he says. "We should accept that the Web is too fast-paced for big-picture learning. No problem; we have other media, and each has its strengths. At the same time, the Web is perfect for narrow, just-in-time learning of information nuggets — so long as the learner already has the conceptual framework in place to make sense of the facts.">>

              Is this an accurate quote? Does it properly represent Nielsen's conclusions about the Net and the Web as educational tools? Do we here agree with Nielsen that the Web is not optimal for "big-picture learning"?

              Bauerlein also cites a number of studies which find little or no educational benefit from current uses of "edtech." Has he distorted the evidence by selecting only those studies that suit his case?

              My own position is naively Deweyan. Dewey proposed that schools should provide the important learnings that the family and the workplace and the other institutions of society do not provide.

              Students learn much without schools from video games and twittering text messages on their cell phones. They do not learn to engage thougtfully with the complexities in great literature and and the physical and social sciences.

              This superb technology allows me to think with you and others around the world I will never see, and that is a great gift. (And, happily for one of my limitations, I am not forced here to limit myself to 140 words.) School needs to help me encounter the crucial disciplines that will inform my thinking and the decisions I make as a worker, a parent, a citizen.

              If I had to choose between teaching students to twitter and teaching them the slow reading of books. . .

              And I think we have to choose: creating the curriculum means choosing.

              Steve Eskow
            • Miles Fidelman
              ... As Claude points out - you might just look at the source article by Nielsen - at http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html - which goes on to point to
              Message 6 of 14 , Oct 2, 2008
              • 0 Attachment
                Dr. Steve Eskow wrote:
                > Claude,
                >
                > Bauerlein quotes Nielsen as saying this:
                >
                > <<Nielsen concisely outlines the difference: "I continue to believe in the linear, author-driven narrative for educational purposes. I just don't believe the Web is optimal for delivering this experience. Instead, let's praise old narrative forms like books and sitting around a flickering campfire — or its modern-day counterpart, the PowerPoint projector," he says. "We should accept that the Web is too fast-paced for big-picture learning. No problem; we have other media, and each has its strengths. At the same time, the Web is perfect for narrow, just-in-time learning of information nuggets — so long as the learner already has the conceptual framework in place to make sense of the facts.">>
                >
                > Is this an accurate quote? Does it properly represent Nielsen's conclusions about the Net and the Web as educational tools? Do we here agree with Nielsen that the Web is not optimal for "big-picture learning"?
                >

                As Claude points out - you might just look at the source article by
                Nielsen - at http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html - which goes on to
                point to another page of guidelines on how to write for the web (at
                http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/). You can judge the accuracy
                for yourself.

                As Claude also points out, the article is descriptive and proscriptive -
                not intended to really draw conclusions.

                I'll add my own opinion that:

                - the web certainly offers the opportunity to post full documents in
                other formats than web pages (e.g., powerpoint briefings, videos of
                lectures, and so forth), and,

                - once place that I question Nielson is in his implication that the web
                is that much different than other media - I expect that people scan
                newspapers and magazines in much the quick way they scan the web -
                certainly, folks in the publishing industry spend a lot of time on
                studies and design, to try to catch people's attention as they scan
                through headlines, flip pages, and so forth
                > Bauerlein also cites a number of studies which find little or no educational benefit from current uses of "edtech." Has he distorted the evidence by selecting only those studies that suit his case?
                >
                I'd guess that he's either distorted the evidence, or the studies are
                flawed, or more likely that an awful lot of edtech is simplistic.

                If edtech is used for drill and practice, or preparing powerpoints
                instead of reports, I'm guessing the results are minimal.

                On the other hand, if edtech is used as a way to access current
                information, rather than the outdated information found in most
                textbooks, how can there not be a benefit? (I defy you to find a
                textbook that contains current world maps, or the latest scientific
                results.) We live in an age where history is unfolding in front of our
                eyes, and scientific research is posted to the net months or years
                before it makes its way into print.

                Miles

                --
                In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
                In practice, there is. .... Yogi Berra
              • Claude Almansi
                Hi, Steve and Miles and All For clarity s sake ... Thanks Miles. I must confess that due to the horizonal oblong shape of this laptop s screen, I had missed
                Message 7 of 14 , Oct 2, 2008
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi, Steve and Miles and All

                  For clarity's sake

                  >> = from Steve
                  > = from Miles

                  Re:

                  >> Claude,
                  >>
                  >> Bauerlein quotes Nielsen as saying this:
                  >>
                  >> <<Nielsen concisely outlines the difference: "I continue to believe in the
                  >> linear, author-driven narrative for educational purposes. I just don't
                  >> believe the Web is optimal for delivering this experience. Instead, let's
                  >> praise old narrative forms like books and sitting around a flickering
                  >> campfire — or its modern-day counterpart, the PowerPoint projector," he
                  >> says. "We should accept that the Web is too fast-paced for big-picture
                  >> learning. No problem; we have other media, and each has its strengths. At
                  >> the same time, the Web is perfect for narrow, just-in-time learning of
                  >> information nuggets — so long as the learner already has the conceptual
                  >> framework in place to make sense of the facts.">>
                  >>
                  >> Is this an accurate quote? Does it properly represent Nielsen's
                  >> conclusions about the Net and the Web as educational tools? Do we here agree
                  >> with Nielsen that the Web is not optimal for "big-picture learning"?
                  >>
                  >
                  > As Claude points out - you might just look at the source article by
                  > Nielsen - at http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html - which goes on to
                  > point to another page of guidelines on how to write for the web (at
                  > http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/). You can judge the accuracy
                  > for yourself.
                  >
                  > As Claude also points out, the article is descriptive and proscriptive -
                  > not intended to really draw conclusions.

                  Thanks Miles. I must confess that due to the horizonal oblong shape of
                  this laptop's screen, I had missed this final quotation from Nielsen
                  and I was referring to the former ones.

                  Nevertheless, I'd just like to add this to Miles' answer: in the case
                  I mentioned some messages earlier of downloading the digital version
                  of Laclos' Les liaisons dangereuses that we were reading with a class
                  of non native French speakers, I would never have suggested they read
                  the whole thing onscreen. But the digital version was invaluable help
                  for them when they wanted to check something.

                  I used paper Shakespeare, Dante and Bible concordances in pre-digital
                  times for the same purpose. I could afford do so because my husband
                  got free copies as a book reviewer. But how many high schools can pay
                  for these tools? Besides, there weren't concordances for all authors.
                  For instance there wasn't one for Montaigne, and once I wanted to
                  check the full original of a sentence from his essays that the poet
                  George Seferis had quoted half in French and half in Greek. It started
                  with " Un suffisant lecteur descouvre souvant es escrits d'autruy...".
                  My dad is a Montaigne fan, he said it rang a bell, but he couldn't
                  find the sentence. So I wrote to Fausta Garavini, who had translated
                  all Montaigne's essays into Italian. She answered it rang a bell, but
                  she couldn't find it. Then, by sheer luck, 2 years later, as I was
                  looking at French anthologies in a bookshop, the damned sentence
                  jumped at me at the beginning of a foreword, with the reference. I
                  copied it on a scrap of paper.

                  Nowadays you can just put "Un suffisant lecteur" + Montaigne in Google
                  and you get the same info in a fraction of a second: "Un suffisant
                  lecteur descouvre souvent és escrits d'autruy, des perfections autres
                  que celles que l'autheur y a mises et apperceuës, et y preste des sens
                  et des visages plus riches" (I, xxiv, 126a). Plus a heap of essays by
                  folks who learnedly dissect this sentence [translation: An apt reader
                  often discovers in another person's writings perfections that are
                  different from those the author put and saw in them, and lends them
                  richer meanings and appearances]. It's a darned good thing we can now
                  look up things in his writings this way.

                  Moreover, while I would not read or normally advise someone to read
                  such a long book entirely onscreen, there are exceptions: if you are
                  blind or paralyzed, for instance. Or even if you are dyslexic: several
                  free software advocates I know are. They were not made dyslexic by
                  using computers, they got interested in computers because they were
                  dyslexic.

                  As to the rest of Miles' answer below, I fully agree with him.

                  Best

                  Claude

                  >
                  > I'll add my own opinion that:
                  >
                  > - the web certainly offers the opportunity to post full documents in
                  > other formats than web pages (e.g., powerpoint briefings, videos of
                  > lectures, and so forth), and,
                  >
                  > - once place that I question Nielson is in his implication that the web
                  > is that much different than other media - I expect that people scan
                  > newspapers and magazines in much the quick way they scan the web -
                  > certainly, folks in the publishing industry spend a lot of time on
                  > studies and design, to try to catch people's attention as they scan
                  > through headlines, flip pages, and so forth
                  >> Bauerlein also cites a number of studies which find little or no
                  >> educational benefit from current uses of "edtech." Has he distorted the
                  >> evidence by selecting only those studies that suit his case?
                  >>
                  > I'd guess that he's either distorted the evidence, or the studies are
                  > flawed, or more likely that an awful lot of edtech is simplistic.
                  >
                  > If edtech is used for drill and practice, or preparing powerpoints
                  > instead of reports, I'm guessing the results are minimal.
                  >
                  > On the other hand, if edtech is used as a way to access current
                  > information, rather than the outdated information found in most
                  > textbooks, how can there not be a benefit? (I defy you to find a
                  > textbook that contains current world maps, or the latest scientific
                  > results.) We live in an age where history is unfolding in front of our
                  > eyes, and scientific research is posted to the net months or years
                  > before it makes its way into print.
                  >
                  > Miles
                  >
                • Taran Rampersad
                  ... I d teach the slow reading of books, myself. If the web has taught me anything, it is that demonstrated reading comprehension on the Internet seems to be
                  Message 8 of 14 , Oct 2, 2008
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Dr. Steve Eskow wrote:
                    >
                    > If I had to choose between teaching students to twitter and teaching
                    > them the slow reading of books. . .
                    >
                    > And I think we have to choose: creating the curriculum means choosing.
                    >
                    > Steve Eskow
                    >










                    I'd teach the slow reading of books, myself. If the web has taught me anything, it is that demonstrated reading comprehension on the Internet seems to be decreasing.

                    --
                    Taran Rampersad
                    cnd@...

                    http://www.knowprose.com
                    http://www.your2ndplace.com
                    http://www.opendepth.com
                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/knowprose/

                    "Criticize by Creating" - Michelangelo
                    "The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine." - Nikola Tesla
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.