Digital Natives

If you’re starting to think about summer vacation, here’s a great idea: whale watching — in Lake Michigan!

For several years, I’ve used the Lake Michigan Whales website to teach my students an important lesson: not everything on the internet is true. <gasp!> Usually students find the site, see what it is, but never grasp the obvious: there are no whales in Lake Michigan.

They probably would have thought about it more, but they were busy checking their email and looking for music online. They never do just one thing at a time. If they try to think about just one thing, their minds begin searching out another distraction.

I like to think they would have questioned it, but I know that many would not. When the school was offering swine flu vaccine this winter, one girl told me that she wouldn’t risk it because she’d seen a video of a woman who could only walk backwards after having the vaccine. I asked her if she thought that something like that could be faked. She said, “No — I saw it! It was on You Tube!”

It’s become a commonplace: more and more distraction, less and less thinking goes on. A lot of blogging, texting, tweeting. Instead of thinking about something, we can Google it. Technology is about to replace critical thinking. More

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