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Are iPads/Mobiles changing the way we think?

This is just a variation of the question that was discussed at length (without much conclusion) about the web and social media – Are iPads/Mobiles changing the way we think?: “Today’s technology may be determining not just how we spend our time: It actually may be “rewiring” the way we think, how we experience the world around us.”

The question is too vague to be useful. Technology is changing our social habits. It is changing how we find and interact with information. In this regard, it is also changing our capacity to “be intelligent in networks”. If that’s what the author means by “changing the way we think”, then, yes, absolutely it is. If the author is referring to biological changes in the brain, it could (and has been) argued that our experiences in life change our brain structure. However, changes to the deep structures of thought – for example logic – are speculative at best. It seems to me that technology is messing around with the periphery of the human brain in how we interact with the world and phenomena in general…but changes to deep structures of the brain are far less conclusive.


  1. I’m getting weary of people hurling the iPad name around to bait readers. The author’s focus is more on the entire digital world, or *maybe* just mobile computing.

    And I agree about the vagueness of the question, too.

    Monday, July 26, 2010 at 10:26 am | Permalink
  2. Geoff Cain wrote:

    I am not too impressed with the iPad – it is a poor networking tool. Everything I have read about learning on the iPad is all about consuming content which I consider a step backward.

    Monday, July 26, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  3. Pete Morton wrote:

    I agree with Bryan, the question is too vague. The May issue of Wired Magazine had an article on the subject titled “The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains” written by Nicholas Carr. I think that it provides an excellent perspective on the subject of ‘technology changes the way we think’.

    Monday, July 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
  4. That’s been my hypothesis since January, Geoff, and I haven’t been able to substantially dispove it.

    Pete, did you see Carr’s new book? Full version of that argument.

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink
  5. Sandy wrote:

    I recently got an iPad, and I must say, it is a really great tool with lots of fantastic apps. I feel it has allowed me to be more mobile. As a doctoral student, I am able to take my readings, documents, etc. with me and work on them whenever I want. I’ve also seen a lot of new apps for elementary and secondary students that are very interactive in nature. Teachers are also seeing the benefits of utilizing this tool to engage their students in learning.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink