Author: Kids are tech-savvy but getting dumber
Our friends on the Gradebook blog report that author Mark Bauerlein of "The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Minds and Jeopardizes Our Future," will speak Friday at the University of Tampa at 3 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public. The premise: Today's kids are tech savvy but self centered, unreliable and dumb as rocks.
Here's a snippet from the book's web site: "According to recent reports from government agencies, foundations, survey firms, and scholarly institutions, most young people in the United States neither read literature (or fully know how), work reliably (just ask employers), visit cultural institutions (of any sort), nor vote (most can’t even understand a simple ballot). They cannot explain basic scientific methods, recount foundations of American history, or name any of their local political representatives. What do they happen to excel at is – each other."
"They spend unbelievable amounts of time electronically passing stories, pictures, tunes, and texts back and forth, savoring the thrill of peer attention and dwelling in a world of puerile banter and coarse images."
Bauerlein, a former research director for the National Endowment for the Arts, has also written plenty about literacy, including the growing gender gap in reading.
"Unfortunately, the textbooks and literature assigned in the elementary grades do not reflect the dispositions of male students," he wrote in this 2005 op-ed for the Washingon Post. "Few strong and active male role models can be found as lead characters. Gone are the inspiring biographies of the most important American presidents, inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs. No military valor, no high adventure. On the other hand, stories about adventurous and brave women abound. Publishers seem to be more interested in avoiding "masculine" perspectives or "stereotypes" than in getting boys to like what they are assigned to read."
The lecture, sponsored by the UT Teaching Guild, will be held in the Reeves Theatre. UT is at 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. The phone number is (813) 253-3333.
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