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Skills: mindful reading Concepts: Internet reading is superficial, good writing requires mindful reading, the Internet and other media change our brains.

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Presentation on theme: "Skills: mindful reading Concepts: Internet reading is superficial, good writing requires mindful reading, the Internet and other media change our brains."— Presentation transcript:

1 Skills: mindful reading Concepts: Internet reading is superficial, good writing requires mindful reading, the Internet and other media change our brains (for better and worse) This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Internet reading (and writing) Zen

2 Where does this topic fit? Internet concepts – Applications – Technology – Implications Internet skills – Application development – Content creation (text) – User skills

3 On the Internet, people read quickly and superficially, starting in the upper left hand corner. Does that sound like you? How long do you typically spend reading a page before clicking away?

4 General pagesGoogle search pages

5 Careless reading example -- two chances to read instructions “When you finish and submit the survey, you will see a thank-you screen with further instructions. Print that out to turn in along with the answers to the following questions: …” 2. 1.

6 From: Mail Delivery System Date: Tue, Oct 19, 2013 at 10:48 AM Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure) To: xxxxx The following message to was undeliverable. The reason for the problem: Unknown address error 552-'5.3.4 Message size exceeds fixed maximum message size' Final-Recipient: Action: failed Status: (permanent failure) Remote-MTA: dns; [ ] Diagnostic-Code: smtp; Unknown address error 552-'5.3.4 Message size exceeds fixed maximum message size' More careless reading Do you see the problem? Was ignoring it professionally acceptable? Do you carefully read error messages?

7 One more example A student wrote the following comment on a blog post: He hit the submit button without reading what he had written himself. How many errors can you find? Is this professionally acceptable?

8 We all do it Did ASCE ever publish the conference proceedings? Larry, I guess you have seen that the new volume of Cuba in Transition (Vol. 21) is out and our articles look good there next to one another. I took the liberty of doing a post on my blog about our collaboration in DC and Miami last August with links to our papers and the video from DC. I also took the opportunity to (re)read your new paper. As I said before, I think we can easily prepare a joint paper … My lame reply:

9 Good Internet writing is concise and to the point. Every word or sentence is there for a reason. It is often conversational. It is often imperative. So Slow down and become a careful reader. Take a deep breath. Be mindful.

10 Is this is your brain on … Hypertext Video games MTV

11 Multitasking is inefficient Do you think multitasking saves you time?

12 Mobile reading (and writing) is sloppy

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14 Complex 3-d visualization Fast decision making Improved cognitive ability – young people

15 Video on study at UCSF (3m 6s) Improved cognitive ability – old people

16 “We shape our tools and then our tools shape us,” paraphrase of Marshall McLuhan by John Culkin.John Culkin “[writing] will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves,” Socrates.Socrates All technologies change cognitive ability. Did the invention of writing diminish our ability to remember things? Has the Internet done the same?

17 Zen and the art of Internet reading (Good writing requires careful reading) “Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written,” Thoreau, Walden, 1854Thoreau, Walden “The best way to go fast is to go slow,” Chinese proverb “Go slow now, go fast later,” German proverb

18 Summary

19 Self-study questions 1.When you read a magazine or newspaper article, do you read it all from start to finish? 2.Do you enjoy sitting for a long time and reading a book? 3.Do you interrupt what you are doing online to check and messages. 4.How likely are you to follow a link in something you are reading and never return to the original? 5.Do you think information technology – cell phones, computers, the Internet, etc. are changing your attention span or level of patience?

20 Resources Is Google making us stoopid?http://computerliteracy3.blogspot.com/2008/08/does-internet- style-reading-change-our.htmlhttp://computerliteracy3.blogspot.com/2008/08/does-internet- style-reading-change-our.html New York Times series Your Brain on Computers:http://topics.nytimes.com/top/features/timestopics/series/your_brain_on_comput ers/index.htmlhttp://topics.nytimes.com/top/features/timestopics/series/your_brain_on_comput ers/index.html Interview of Matt Richtel, author of the above series.http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId= http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId= Gamers better at fast decision-making:http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/gamer- decisions/http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/gamer- decisions/ Improved cognitive ability in old people who play games: 1018a.pdf 1018a.pdf Podcast on the above study: Henry Thoreau at Walden pond: Topic module with more on reading and user interface research: New York Times article on research on multi-tasking and distraction conducted at Carnegie Mellon University shows that multi-tasking cuts comprehension in a reading task, but people who expect to be interrupted may learn to cope and do better. Jakob Nielsen, How Little Do Users Read? Alertbox, May 6, 2008:


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