Dumb? Hardly

In Saturday’s Ottawa Citizen, I was drawn immediately to this article.

On the front page, there was a picture of a USB connector and the story itself featured a picture of audio player ear plugs.

So, I actually read the article before finding out how Canada did at the Olympics.

The article was entitled “Is this the dumbest generation ever?

It was another run at Mark Bauerlein’s book “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future, Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30”.  Mr. Bauerlein is a professor at a Emory University.

The book raised a lot of discussion when folks blogged and blogged about it earlier this summer.  At the time, I hoped that a book with this sensationalist title would make its splash and the move on.

The book was an angry read for me.  Every generation has new opportunities, new technologies, new interests, etc. from the previous.  Every generation views these new opportunities, and rightfully, as a challenge to the status quo.

If you’re old enough to remember (or young enough to use Google), take a look at how The Beatles were going to be the end of it all.  After all, this group challenged everything that society knew about music.  Yet, it took an Ed Sullivan from the older generation to realize the opportunity and as we know, the world changed because of his vision and willingness to challenge the status quo.

What is this connected generation truly doing?  They’re working, collaborating, and creating beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.  They’re cutting their way through our traditional view of what a connected computer can do.  They’re also enjoying new forms of recreation.  It would be foolish to think that they’re not.

But, they’re not dumb.  They’re dragging us into the future as they develop and refine these skills.

In education, we need to find the sweet spot that marries these technologies and this enthusiasm with an evolving curriculum and society so that everyone wins.

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