Learning in the digital age: What is the internet doing to our brains?
POLAND (WGME) – The connection between teens and technology is obvious.
According to a pew research poll, nearly 80 percent of American teenagers have cell phones, half of those are smart phones.
What’s less clear is the effect the constant connection to the digital world has on kids and how they learn.
Educators at Poland Regional High School in RSU 16 are asking that very question.
Ian’ Truman’s AP Literature and Language class is diving right into that discussion after reading “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.”
“It’s a great question,” Truman said. “What is it really doing to our brains are we really losing something critical?”
He says he wanted his students to start thinking about this. He says growing up in the digital age is unchartered waters for everyone involved.
“I think it’s still sorting itself out as we all adapt to it,” Truman said. “But there is no one telling us how to do it. We’re all trying to figure out and adapt to how to best meet kid’s needs.”
Truman’s class brought CBS 13 in on the discussion. Many of them told us their lives are constantly filled with technology.
“Everything from what I read to what I write and all of my school work and things, I have it all on my technology,” Poland Regional High School sophomore Hannah Dufault said.
Sarah Parent, a junior at the high school said the book “The Shallows” got her thinking differently about the relationship between her brain and technology.
“The way our brains work it’s like a physical thing,” Parent said. “Our cells can literally wither away if we stare at a screen for a long time instead of reading or talking to people.”
Truman said one of the biggest concerns in this digital age is the loss of original thought. He wonders if this generation will know how to think creatively and form their own arguments when it’s so easy to find and use someone else’s online.
“We want students to put their own opinions together, formulate opinions, and get opinions of others,” Truman said. “[We want them to] read and research, but have [their] own opinions. But how do you formulate your own opinion and really care about something when it’s so easy to grab someone else’s?”