Your Computer Is Making You Stupid

This essay from the Chronicle of Higher Education by Mark Bauerlein is more evidence for what I already suspected: reading on a computer screen makes me stupid.  Or, more exactly, trying to read dense, extended arguments on a computer screen results in an entirely different kind of comprehension from reading a book or a newspaper.  Among Bauerlein’s conclusions is the following disturbing tidbit:

"That’s the drift of screen reading.  Yes, it’s a kind of literacy, but it breaks down in the face of a dense argument, a Modernist poem, a long political tract, and other texts that require steady focus and linear attention — in a word, slow reading. Fast scanning doesn’t foster flexible minds that can adapt to all kinds of texts, and it doesn’t translate into academic reading."

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So before you buy that Kindle from Amazon...

Jim Keane, SJ

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10 years ago
Of course not. The America blog is a special blend of wit, erudition, and gamma rays that prevents any such thing!
10 years ago
But this doesn't include the America magazine blog, right? :)
10 years ago
Actually, the primary function of the Kindle is for reading whole books, page after page of text as dense and Modernist as you want it to be. (The Kindle has a simple Web browsing function but it is not a good primary or even secondary surfing device.) So it does not fit neatly into this particular literacy discussion.

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