Impact of internet on our brains

What is the Internet Doing to our Brains?

Dr. Paul Howard Jones shared his views and findings in the video.

Is Google rewiring our brains?

Is it true that the more time we spend on internet, the less time we spend in real life socialising?

In the highlights of Recent Social Network Site Research

– SNS’s generally stimulate teenage social connectedness and psychological well-being

– It is about how the technology is used: Benefits if supporting existing friendships

Is the internet bad for us?

Paul compares technology of fire-making

– GOOD for warmth and toasting muffins

– BAD: if used carelessly – No panic headlines: “Fire may destroy us”

– we understand dangers and precautions.

It’s about how we use technology – when, how much, what for…

So, it is the affordance of technology that makes the difference, based on what and how technology is used in situations.

Would the use of internet lead people to do more or less physical exercise?  Research findings on this were divided – with some indicating that people exercised more whilst others indicating that people exercised less with the use of internet.

Are games (and internet games in particular) good teachers?

In Paul’s views games could be good teacher.

Action video games improve:

– Performance on many visuomotor tasks

– Switching of visual attention

– Suppression of distracting visual influences

– Inference of an action’s probable outcome

– Contrast sensitivity (primary factor limiting sight)

What are people doing on internet?

– Adults – pornography & illicit relationship

– Young people – gaming

This is an interesting finding.  I think it depends on what sort of games people are involved in.  There are World of Warcraft, educational games etc.

In the virtual World such as SecondLife, there are lots of people immersed in it, for socialising, communicating and sharing, education, or dating etc.  There are huge potential of the use SecondLife in Medical and Health Education, SecondLife in distance education.

Another reason why games could simulate learning is based on the premises that : We love uncertain rewards.  This is especially true for those of us who like to overcome the obstacles, and to achieve certain outcomes, like advancement of achievement levels and engagement and interaction with others to accomplish team, network, or community (or COPs) goals – that’s the reward that most of us like.  These may relate to the use of gamification to engage people (students in particular), so they would interact with the games, people and those involved in the system.

What else have you found, with internet and games in particular, on our brain?

To explore further:

How about the impact of internet on teaching and learning?  Your views….

#Change11 #CCK12 The Digital Divide

Is digital divide an issue? How to bridge the digital divide?

These are the questions raised and addressed by Aleph.

Based on the research finding (Dijk and Hacker, 2003), learning digital skills will be a strategic objective for educational institutions at all levels.  In general, formal education runs behind because means are lacking and teachers are not sufficiently trained or motivated on online learning. Instrumental and informational skills have to be learned at school.

There are also challenges relating to immigrants and natives divide, as I have shared in my previous post on the teaching and learning of net generations with new and emerging technologies.

Here are some recent updates on digital divide:

Hilbert, M. 2011. The end justifies the definition: The manifold outlooks on the digital divide and their practical usefulness for policy-making. Telecommunications Policy, 35(8), 715-736. Retrieved from:

Schradie, Jen. The Digital Production Gap: The Digital Divide and Web 2.0 Collide. Poetics, Vol. 39, No. 2. April 2011, p. 145-168.

#Change11 Impact of social media and internet, & 21st century learning (Part 2)

I enjoyed reading this post by Grainne, where she writes:

“He then turned to Ron Barnett’s work (2005) on textual instability, suggesting this gives an example of the instability in academia’s ideas of itself. Barnett goes on to argue that the media implicated in the academy’s inability to claim universality in its pursuit of truth – supercomplexity related to texts a world of uncertainty all notions, such as truth come under scrutiny, revised and contested, concepts broken open and subject to multiple interpretation. Ray questioned how can we prepare our students to cope with this supercomplexity?

He talked about Mark Poster’s notions of authority and the notion of the academic gate keeper. Poster explored digitization and the effect on all aspects of social. He argued that this has resulted in the breaking down of boundaries in academic roles and identities. Ray wondered what would be the implications of a world in which all texts were digital and in which there were no originals. More broadly, what is the role of the university and the discipline in this context, where here is now no authority?”

How are we going to prepare students to cope with this supercomplexity?

In this Teaching for Supercomplexity: A Pedagogy for Higher Education by Ronald Barnett and Susan Hallam, the question of : “What forms of learning and teaching are appropriate to a learning society and globalization” was raised.  In face of supercomplexity, it is important to develop students not just ‘core skills’ but self reliance.  Graduates will have to have powers of ‘self-reliance’ in order to cope with and to act purposely in that world.

There are many ways of helping students to develop such self reliance. I have come up with the following:

(1) Learning to learn – a connectivist approach towards learning,

(2) Creation and development of a learning platform where the community of learners learn together, based upon their goals, and their social needs,

(3) Incorporation of future of education strategies,

(4) A change from traditional pedagogy to digital and netagogy.

What is the role of the university?

In this post by Stephen, he asks if internet would destroy the ivory tower.

Stephen says:  “I suspect that in the near future we are going to see a lot of experimentation with new forms of higher education, reflecting the fact that these institutions in fact serve many purposes other than merely transmitting knowledge/skills to students.”

This led me to reflect on this – what the internet means for how we think about the world.

“Yet, for the coming generation, knowing looks less like capturing truths in books than engaging in never-settled networks of discussion and argument. That social activity — collaborative and contentious, often at the same time — is a more accurate reflection of our condition as imperfect social creatures trying to understand a world that is too big and too complex for even the biggest-headed expert.”

So that is why social network and media could likely be the minefield that would  determine the future of education and learning.

Social Media and Networks

This Social Media facts and statistics tells the story.

“Social networks play a prominent role in Internet users’ life as they spend significant number of hours daily either by chatting, uploading pictures or sharing information. Leaving behind all other social networks Facebook has embraced 800 million users and still increasing as the days roll down. On the other hand Twitter has an active user base of 100+ million while LinkedIn influences 133.98 million active users.”

Here are 21st century learning videos:

So, here is how we were caught in the web:

See Part 3 in a coming post soon.

#Change11 Use of internet – Is it just for fun by young adults? Is it just a waste of time?

This post on the use of internet – Pew Report 53 per cent of people under 30 go online to waste time would surely draw your attention.

“The Internet is one of the greatest inventions of all time, allowing for a nearly instantaneous sharing of information that the world had never come close to previously.

But for most people under the age of 30 in the U.S., the Web is mostly a time killer, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

“Americans are increasingly going online just for fun and to pass the time,” the Pew Research Center said in its report, released Friday. “On any given day, 53% of all the young adults ages 18-29 go online for no particular reason except to have fun or to pass the time.”

Here in another post on young adults use of internet relating to the Pew Report:

“The trend also suggests the degree to which the Internet has become a competitor to all kinds of other leisure activities that are pursued on other kinds of media,” the report states. “Still, the competition is fuzzy because most other kinds of leisure pursuits that can be digitized – from reading to game playing to ‘watching TV’ and ‘listening to radio’ – are now available online.”

The report is based on surveys Pew conducted with 2,260 adults from July 25 to Aug. 26.”

Isn’t internet revolutionizing education?  May be in a different way, with fun and entertainment first, especially with the internet games.

Would this be also the case for young adults in other regions of the world?


1. Pew Research Report

2. Internet world statistics

#Change11 The Internet of Things

This week’s topic is Managing Technology to Transform Teaching.  How about Internet of Things for Teaching?

What is Internet of Things (IoT)? It is a world-wide network of uniquely addressable interconnected objects, based on standard communication protocols.

Here are a few videos that I am interested in:

On Internet of Things, and the research that would be carried out by Pew Internet – relating to Internet and technology – on organization, users of internet, higher education (universities), and future technology.

Sea of data, just drowning…

Connection of objects.  Are we becoming smarter societies, communities, people?

In this Internet of Things:

“The vision of an Internet of Things built from smart objects raises several important questions in terms of system architecture, design and development, and human involvement.”

So Internet of Things is still a relative new and emerging concept.  Would it transform the way we live, educate and learn?  Sure, this would be exciting!

Anyone who is conducting current research in your institution?  What are your findings relating to education and learning?

How does it impact on Higher Education – teaching and learning in particular?

Would learning analytics be based on Internet of Things?

How internet is affecting our life

Jenny reflected on how she viewed the impact of internet on seniors here the internet and the older generation.  Do old people need to be connected more actively via internet? What are the values of using internet in their connections? I don’t know, but old people could become rather lonely if they are isolated from the family, or the community.  So, some connections using facebook, twitter,  or other mobile technology may be helpful for some old people, in order for them to be part of the “virtual community”.  Some old people might also be interested in reading and watching news and reading newspapers over the internet, as they could choose when and how they would do that at their own pace.  The problem is: do they have the computer and technology skills in mastering such information and internet search?  My limited experience with “teaching” elderly is: No.  Internet is not that “easy” to learn, especially when old people are not educated in technology or having the computer literacies.  May be they could learn using mobiles, but again the characters and image in mobiles may be too small for them to read.  Some old people would still prefer to meet and socialize with others face-to-face,  as evidenced in the small gatherings in malls, or eating out in the restaurants.

My parents didn’t use any computers, not even the internet.   They didn’t even had the chance of receiving formal education.  So where and how did they get the information when they were alive? And what were their source of knowledge and wisdom?

They got the wisdom from their parents, friends, and the informal “teaching” and learning at work or with their children, through doing,  observation, experience and reflection of work and life.  As they grew older, they became wiser, as they understood that life is a learning experience, and that they have transformed their knowledge into wisdom that inspired them to practice “peace of mind and acts of love” in their latter part of life.

Although we have become more educated, as compared to our ancestors,  are we getting smarter, wiser?

With the introduction of new and emerging technology, mobile technology, and internet in particular, we have come to a point when most of our learning and values are being “challenged” by many others, including the formal authorities, experts, institutions, and knowledgeable others based on critical thinking, and creative collective inquiries, and communities discourse.

Here is an adapted and expanded version of a reflective writing (with my views and beliefs included).   I got it from my  beloved sister.  I don’t know the source, but would like to acknowledge and attribute to the source.

Photo: from Flickr

Today we have higher buildings and wider highways, but shorter attention span and temperament, and narrower points of view.

We spend more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses, but smaller families.

We have more information and “knowledge”, but less “objective” judgement and tolerance.

We have more medicines, but less health.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk much,  but we listen less.

We love only a little, but we hate a lot.

We reached the Moon and came back, but we found it too troublesome to cross our own street and meet our neighbours.

We have conquered the outer space, but not our inner space.

We have higher income, but less moral values.

We have increased public education on family values, but the divorce rate has also increased.

There are finer houses, but more broken homes.

We created more schools, but there are more failure drop-outs.

We showed our power and arrogance, but failed to acknowledge our own arrogance and ignorance.

We strived for liberty and freedom, but tried to convince others that they have to follow our orders.

We live our life by possessing and accumulating more materials and wealth, but we seem to have great difficulties in caring and loving our parents, partners, children and friends, or our colleagues and customers.

How about the following propositions?

Do you keep anything for a special occasion, because every day that you live is a special occasion.

Take out from your vocabulary phrases like “I will love him or her if he changes”.  Instead, adopt a phrase like “I will change myself so I could love him or her now”

Tell your family and friends how much you love them.

Do not delay anything that could add laughter, joy and happiness to your life, and to your other family members’ life.

Every day, hour, minute and second is special… to you and to others who you love.

And you don’t know if it will be your last moment to share….

Those are the days belong to the past, in nostalgia. Here is the moment to share and celebrate life.

Search for truth, information and knowledge.  Read more, think and reflect on what you have learnt. Sit on your front porch (including your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter, or your favorite social media site), and admire the views of nature and spaces (including the networks, the different social media)

Spend more time with your family, eat your favorite (healthy) food, visit the place you love.  Play the music that you enjoy, and sing the songs that echoes with your mind.

Life is a chain of moments of joys, it isn’t only for survival.

Use your crystal goblets. Do not save your best perfume (your wisdom or knowledge), and use it every time you feel you want it.

If you like,  share your wisdom and knowledge – that is your riches here on earth.

Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal.  Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal.  For your heart will always be where your riches are. (Luke 12.33-34)

Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” discussed the ways in which our online existence is rewiring our minds, replacing deep thought with information overload, and overruling attentiveness with a steady stream of interruptions and distractions. This saturation of technology, he says, is affecting us at the cellular level and turning us into what one researcher terms “suckers for irrelevancy.” Here is the video.

Is there a new geek anti-intellectualism?

Are we becoming more geeky and less intellectual?  I don’t think there is an “absolute” answer to this question, as the “truth” lies with both sides of the coin: That we are living with an ecology where distributed knowledge and information is ubiquitous, and that we are trying to define epistemology based on a world view.

In this Is wikipedia anti-intellectual? by Daniel, he puts forward his views on intellectualism. “We should help each other to become critical thinkers” Totally agreed. Our formal education is still aligned more with the adoption of authority based or canonical knowledge, which may be well designed for “transmission” of factual and procedural knowledge and scientific information.  However, the complexity of information landscape (internet, communities, networks, webs, formal institutions) and the abundance of information and “experts” with expert knowledge all over the “spaces” have challenged us to re-think about what it means to be an intellectual, and what makes us a better informed and knowledgeable citizen (or scholar, educator or learner) within a global learning environment.