Short Observations or Powerful Images Encountered

during Research but not in the Final Report



Distraction, Multitasking and Brain Research


            "On Maslow's hierarchy of Needs (teenage edition) access to Internet browsing, an e-mil account, Facebook, iTunes, Nintendo, and a cell phone sits somewhere between "Safety" and "Love/Belonging"     (Maushart 31)


            "If you ever want to know what was going through Frodo Baggins's mind as he stood clutching the evil ring over the lava pits of Mt. Doom in The Return of the King, buy an iPhone."  (Tony Norman from Maushart 104)


            The story of the Zen Master's special powers, in response to the martial artist and his swordsmanship.  "And what about your special powers?  What can you do?"  The Zen Master replies "When I walk, I just walk.  When I eat, I just eat.  When I talk, I just talk." (Maushart 177)


            "It seems as if the Internet has had the effect of maximizing our predisposition for distraction." (Nimz and Michel 25)


            Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield: "My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights who have a small attention span and how live for the moment." (Keen:  p. 216, footnote 21, "Social Websites Harm Children's Brains: Chilling Warning to Parents from Top Neuroscientist," London Mail)


            Clay Shirky: "Anything that changes the way groups get things down will affect society as a whole." (Richardson 3)


            Tim Berners-Lee (1989) "The original thing I wanted to do was make it [the WWW] a collaborative medium, a place where we could all meet and read and write." (Richardson 1)


            William Powers: "Although we think of our screens as productivity tools, they actually undermine the serial focus thatÕs the essence of true productivity. And the faster and more intense our connectedness becomes, the further we move away from that ideal. Digital busyness is the enemy of depth." (HamletÕs Blackberry)


            Richard Foreman: "I come from a tradition of Western culture, in which the ideal (my ideal) was the complex, dense and "cathedral-like"structure of the highly educated and articulate personality—a man or woman who carried inside themselves a personally constructed and unique version of the entire heritage of the West. [But now] I see within us all (myself included) the replacement of complex inner density with a new kind of self—evolving under the pressure of information overload and the technology of the "instantly available.

            "As we are drained of our "inner repertory of dense cultural inheritance, we risk turning into "Ôpancake peopleÕ—spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button."

 (Carr "Is Google Making Us Stupid?Ó)


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Present Shock, Social Media, Big Brother Variations


            Media expert Neil Postman observed, " Information explosions blow things up."(Maushart 152) 


               "All the mouse droppings will be saved."  (referring to Facebook's new "Timeline" feature) (Keen 60)


            Walter Kirn's imagery of "Little Brothers" (vs. Big Brother)  "a vast cohort of prankish Little Brothers equipped with devices that Orwell, writing 60 years ago, never dreamed of and who are loyal to no organized authority" (p. 211 of  KeenÕs footnotes, footnote # 5, "Little Brother is Watching")


            Nicholas Carr:  "Google may be making us stupid, but the company itself is anything but stupid." (Keen 81)


            "We have sold our social depth for social breadth and interactive quality for interactive quantity to become what playwright Richard Foreman calls 'pancake people': 'spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button." (Maushart 185)


            Zadie Smith: "I am dreaming of a Web that caters to a person who no longer exists.  A private person, a person who is a mystery, to the world and—which is more important—to herself.  Person as mystery: This idea of personhood is certainly challenging, perhaps has already changed." (New Yorker review of The Social Network) or Keen, 184-185


            John Stuart Mill: "Remaining human required us to sometimes disconnect from society, to remain private, autonomous and secretive." (Keen 192)


            Jonathan Franzen: "There is no such thing as a person whose real self you like every particle of.  This is why a world of liking is ultimately a lie.  But there is such a thing as a person whose real self you love every particle of.  And this is why love is such an existential threat to the techno-consumerist order; it exposes the lie." ("Liking is for Cowards.  Go for What Hurts," Jonathan Franzen, The NY Times, May 28, 2011).


            "Wherever our real bodies may be, our virtual personae are being bombarded with information and missives.  Our inboxes are loading, our Twitter feeds are rolling, our Facebook updates are changing, our calendars are filling, and our consumer profiles and credit reports are adjusting all along the way."  "Why hasn't anyone answered my e-mail?" we complain. (Rushkoff 72)


            "We may not know where we're going, but we are going to get there a whole lot faster."  (Rushkoff 73)


            "Looked at in terms of flowing and static information, the email inbox is one, big, unfinishable loop.  It is not a book or document that can be successfully completed.  It is a flow . . The initial choice to have at all is to open a loop." (Rushkoff 145)


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Negative Impact of School


            Bob Albrecht : "Whenever I go out into the real world, I never see people making a lot of money sitting at their desks, answering multiple choice questions."  (Oppenheimer 350)


            Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist,: "I donÕt divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures . . . I divide the world into the learners and nonlearners." Dweck 16)


"Without dialogue there is no communication, and without communication there can be no true education."

--Paul Freire (p. 73-74, 1997, Pedagogy of the Oppressed)


            T. S. Eliot: "Where is the wisdom lost in knowledge?  Where is the knowledge lost in information?" (1963, p. 147, "Choruses from The Rock" in Collected Poems 1909-1962)



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Positive Impact of School, Keeping Technology in Proper Persepective


"A key purpose of school and college must be to allow students to find passions for a good life and not just a good job."  (Gee 213)


            "I think computers are great.  I think they're a low priority, though." (a teacher at Urbana Academy, where they have only a single computer lab) (Oppenheimer 333)


            Gray Rushkin: "The computer is a tool to explain real things students have seen" in contrast to "wet science"  (Oppenheimer 199)


            Jane Healey's Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children's Minds—for Better and Worse, Simon and Schuster, 1998, p. 212) studies video games vs. kids physically playing at recess, which "teaches children how to pretend, which in turn develops the imagination."


            R. Buckminster Fuller: "We are called to be the architects of the future, not its victims." (Nimz and Michel 51)


            John Dewey believed that "education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."( November 5)


            "Technology should not be an event; it is an integral part of learning  technology not the "nemesis" of literacy and numeracy, but a means to develop those skills."(Nimz and Michel 18)


               When Alan November interviewed a big CEO about what he looks for in an employee, he said "empathy." "To manage complex projects like these, we need people who can understand other points of view."(November 65)


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            Dr. James Comer (1995) "No significant learning occurs w/o a significant relationship.  That relationship occurs when both sides are allowed to make a contribution." (Nimz and Michel 14)


            Theodore Sizer: "The big problem is: Good people don't take and stay in jobs that don't entrust them with important things." (Oppenheimer 405)


            David Thornburg: If we are going to unlock the creativity of the students, we first have to unlock the creativity of the teachers."(Serim 142)


            "The great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning."(describing Marva Collins, Dweck 188)


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Close Reading, Deep Thinking, Cultivating the Imagination


            Proust saw reading as a kind of intellectual Ôsanctuary,Õ where human beings have access to thousands of different realities they might never encounter or understand otherwise.  Each of these new realities is capable of transforming readersÕ intellectual lives without ever requiring them to leave the comfort of their armchairs."(Wolf 6-7)


            Rumer Godden: "When you learn to read you will be born again . . . and you will never be quite so alone again."(Wolf 109)


            Marcel Proust: "I believe that reading, in its original essence, [is] that fruitful miracle of a communication in the midst of solitude."(Wolf 3)


            Great idea for a classroom project--Wolf discusses many famous writers and her remembrances of first encountering them.  "It is said that Machiavelli would sometimes prepare to read by dressing up in the period of the writer he was reading and then setting a table for the two of them.  This was his sign of respect for the authorÕs gift, and perhaps of MachiavelliÕs tacit understanding of the sense of encounter that Proust described."(7)


            Harold and the Purple Crayon exemplifies  "the uncluttered path to the imagination":

            "There's just little Harold in his pajamas, heading out on an ordinary night to draw a line that runs on forever, a line that forms a moon to light his steps and a path to walk on and nine kinds of pies to eat—as if one well-worn, stubby crayon could allow you to dream up a whole universe.  Which of course it can."  ("Beyond the Finger Paint," by Deborah Solomon.  The NYT Book Review, May 17, 1998. p. 24)