Friday, January 7, 2011

final reflection

I thought that the book was interesting but it seemed that the author presented a very one-sided view of today's youth. He provided many different statistics to support his opinions but it felt forced to me because he didn't balance his work with any other arguments. I think that this lack of balance in his writing is interesting because in the final chapter Bauerlein chastises students for failing to "ponder inconsistencies within their own camps" (p. 229)

Overall I do think that he makes some valid points regarding changes that have occurred in education and in society. He did give me food for thought though about subjects such as how little positive impact one-to-one programs have had on student test scores and about how much free time we have and how we use it. Some of the information that I found the most interesting was about how much reading impacts lives. Bauerlein wrote about reading again on p 59. "Reading researchers call it the "Matthew Effect," in which those who acquire reading skills in childhood read and learn later in life at a faster pace than those who do not." On p 202 he quoted Stephen and Linda Bennett writing, "People who read books for pleasure are more likely than non-readers to report voting, being registered to vote, 'always' voting, to pay greater attention to news stories about national, international, and local politics, and to be better informed." He also wrote that, "Knowledge-workers, wordsmiths, policy wonks.... they don't emerge from nowhere. They need a long foreground of reading and writing," Not all of this information was new to me but I did not expect to see it in this book about "How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future".


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Monday, December 20, 2010

Reflection Post

I thought the most accurate of all the information from the entire book came at the end. Bauerlein finally gave some insite to what youth should be learning about and studying rather than technology. "The Dumbest Generation will cease being dumb only when it regards adolescence as an inferior realm of petty strivings and adulthood as a realm of civic, historical, and cultural awareness that puts them in touch with the perennial ideas and struggles." (p. 236) So we finally know what the author suggests this generation do to cease being 'dumb' but is that actually probable.
As a Government teacher of Seniors who are finally realizing they need good grades to get into college, they don't even have the grasp of civics and cultural awareness as Bauerlein puts it. I have colleagues that don't even grasp these ideas, in fact if it were not my job I might not follow every aspect of politics and current events either. This is just not the norm in today's society. People don't stand around the water cooler and talk about any good books they've read lately, instead they talk about what they made for supper or who was five minutes late for work today.
Overall I actually found this book to be interesting. It was an eye opener to the fact that the youth are of course the generation of our future and if they are not informed of history and cultural foundations those foundations America was founded on will be lost. For the sake of our founding fathers, the writers of our Constitution, the military men and women who fight for our freedom; we need to stay informed of how we came to be the 'land of the free and the home of the brave'.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Final Reflection

In The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein presents the argument that today’s youth while at ease with technology, lacks basic civic, historic, artistic, literary and philosophical intelligences. They read less for leisure than any other previous generation. They also don’t vote, nor do they care about political issues on any thing more than a superficial or shallow level. They are, according to Bauerlein, “incomplete people and negligent citizens” (Bauerlein 233, 2008). Nor does he make this statement without a mountain of empirical data to back it up. Indeed, Bauerlein cites so many studies and data results throughout his book that I oftentimes found my head swimming. He also reiterates many times throughout the book that he offers his argument and statistics as a counterpoint to the “techno-zeal” sweeping the U.S. educational system and mainstream society.

While I found many of Bauerlein’s arguments and studies to be intriguing, especially as they related to leisure reading habits, I took much of what he had to say with a grain of salt. As evidenced throughout his text, Bauerlein is a debater. In The Dumbest Generation, he is giving us his well-researched, albeit biased argument against youth’s use of technology. We as readers can either choose to join his team, or we can do our own pro-technology research and formulate a rebuttal. Personally, I plan to use Bauerlein’s research and studies as a counterpoint for debate with my colleagues. One aspect of Bauerlein’s book that frustrated me immensely while reading it was his lack of solutions on how to reach this digital millennial. So in addition to using his research as a point of discussion, I also plan to use it as a way to start brainstorming ways to engage our students in the educational process.