In an era dominated by constant information and the desire to be social, should the tone of thinking for students be different?
This is the world of Google.
In this world full of information abundance, our minds are constantly challenged to react to data, and often in a way that doesn’t just observe, but interprets. Subsequently, we unknowingly “spin” everything to avoid cognitive dissonance.
As a result, the tone of thinking can end up uncertain or whimsical, timid or arrogant, sycophant or idolizing–and so, devoid of connections and interdependence. The internet and social media are designed to connect, and with brilliant efficiency they do indeed connect—words and phrases, images and video, color and light, but not always to the net effect they might.
The nature of social media rests on identity as much as anything else—forcing subjectivity on everything through likes, retweets, shares, and pins. Instead, we might consider constant reflection guided by important questions as a new way to learn in the presence of information abundance.
But this takes new habits.
There is more information available to any student with a smartphone than an entire empire would have had access to three thousand years ago.
In one form or another, that idea has been repeated quite a bit since the “Shift Happens” videos were making their rounds on YouTube a few years ago, but it’s easy to miss how incredible this is. Truth may not change, but information does. And in the age of social media, it divides and duplicates in a frenzied kind of digital mitosis.
New contexts—digital environments that function as humanity-in-your-pocket—demand new approaches and new habits. Specifically, new habits of mind.
Responding with awe.
And in an era of distinct academic standards and increasingly brazen technology, they are increasingly relevant.