Does social media endanger knowledge?
Submitted by David J. Rosen on October 22, 2017 - 8:45am
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Integrating Technology colleagues,
Some of us believe that the cultural shift from text to video and images offers learners more paths to knowledge, especially for those who have difficulty reading text. Another point of view, however, is that this shift to visual entertainment undermines curiosity, knowledge-seeking, and depth of knowledge and understanding. This Wired article, "How Social Media Endangers Knowledge," argues that position, and points out that the Wikipedia is endangered not by lack of funds but by a lack of growth in articles. Do you agree that this is an indicator that "The very idea of knowledge itself is in danger"?
The article's author, Hossein Derakhshan, writes, "As Neil Postman noted in his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, the rise of television introduced not just a new medium but a new discourse: a gradual shift from a typographic culture to a photographic one, which in turn meant a shift from rationality to emotions, exposition to entertainment. In an image-centered and pleasure-driven world, Postman noted, there is no place for rational thinking, because you simply cannot think with images. It is text that enables us to “uncover lies, confusions and overgeneralizations, to detect abuses of logic and common sense. It also means to weigh ideas, to compare and contrast assertions, to connect one generalization to another.”
Do you agree that we have shifted from a print culture to an image and video culture, and that this shift endangers knowledge? Do you agree that we cannot think using only images? Can only text (and perhaps oral debate) enable us to “uncover lies, confusions and overgeneralizations, to detect abuses of logic and common sense... to compare and contrast assertions, to connect one generalization to another”?
Why or why not? What are the implications for teaching and learning?
David J. Rosen, Moderator
Integrating Technology CoP