Why Teachers and Students Need to Learn about Their Brains in the Digital Age

By Betsy Hill

For good and bad, technology changes our brains. But then again, so does every experience we have. Our brains develop (throughout life) in interaction with our environment. As one neuroscientist puts it, our brains become what our brains do.

So what are our brains doing and becoming in the digital age? This field of research is booming and some of it raises concerns. When it comes to literacy, for example, Maryanne Wolfe, in a recent article in The Guardian, explained that “skim reading” is replacing deep, analytical, reflective reading. Skim reading means that our brains scan for words and we don’t take the time to return to an earlier part of the text to refresh our recollection or rethink and reevaluate our take on the subject. There seems to be evidence that reading on a screen promotes this “light” version of reading.

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