No one has failed to notice that the current generation of youth is deeply - some would say totally - involved with digital media. Professors Howard Gardner and Katie Davis name today’s young people The App Generation, and in this spellbinding book they explore what it means to be “app-dependent” versus “app-enabled” and how life for this generation differs from life before the digital era.
Gardner and Davis are concerned with three vital areas of adolescent life: identity, intimacy, and imagination. Through innovative research, including interviews of young people, focus groups of those who work with them, and a unique comparison ofyouthful artistic productions before and after the digital revolution, the authors uncover the drawbacks of apps: they may foreclose a sense of identity, encourage superficial relations with others, and stunt creative imagination.
On the other hand, the benefits of apps are equally striking: they can promote a strong sense of identity, allow deep relationships, and stimulate creativity. The challenge is to venture beyond the ways that apps are designed to be used, Gardner and Davis conclude, and they suggest how the power of apps can be a springboard to greater creativity and higher aspirations.
©2013 Howard Gardner and Katie Davis (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
to Nicolas Carr's The Shallows, which I recommend be read first: to get the full warning of what can go wrong when we become slaves to technology and the rapid-fire "information age..." The originator of the Multiple Intelligence Education system, Howard Gardner, and Katie Davis come together to give a very serious look at the "App Generation," those born into a 24/7 "wired" society... I had to be a bit amused at the reviewer who vociferously complains that this book "won't get to the point" and gave up after an hour and a half because the authors wanted to give background for their thesis. (Yes, there is a thorough and necessary historical background of technology's influence on the last few hundred years of human evolution.) Perhaps this person is suffering from some of the negative effects of information at the speed of light: inability to concentrate for long periods of time, impatience, attention deficits...as well as deficits in the areas of identity, creativity and interpersonal relationships. (Again, read Carr first to get the thorough analysis of this foreboding side of the issue in bold letters.) Gardner and Davis are realistic about these side-effects of cellphones, tablets and computers which allow youth to be constantly online and more involved with their Facebook friends than the ones standing right next to them (also busy with their online lives.) But Gardner and Davis also offer hope, showing that, used correctly and wisely--and on a more limited basis, technology COULD help the computer generation to emerge MORE creative, with MORE enhanced self-awareness and with MORE connectedness to others. The key, they say, is being very aware of how one is using the technology: that is, that the human is still in charge and using the machines to enhance reality rather than to replace it. Becoming slave to the machines and their flashing lights and info-bits is what leads to everything Carr warns of in The Shallows... It's a big "COULD," I have to say, and I think I see more Shallows than Depths when it comes to technology use among the young (I teach college English and have for 25 years, and so have seen both sides of the technological divide), but at least Gardner and Davis give us a guideline, a way of becoming aware and helping others become aware of how to control technology rather than letting it come to control us.
I'm in the education industry working with teens and tweens, and so was genuinely attracted by the title and synopsis of this book. However, my enthusiasm to glean insights from the said interviews is really dampened at the time of this review; I am 1hr 20min into the book, and already feel like the author is meandering too far and needlessly deep into the background and peripheral knowledge supporting their research. For instance, simply the definition of the word "generation" took two separate instances of explanation and seem to go on and on.
Establishing the validity and context of the research is essential, but so far it actually feels like the author is extraordinarily desperate to convince the reader that whatever is coming further into the book (if it comes at all) is all solid truth. It's bewildering to me, considering how credible the author is widely known to be.
I'm bored out of my skull, and am constantly distracted in wondering WHY I am hearing so much unnecessary information. I might just return this book if it doesn't get down to the meat in the next chapter, as it sounds like it's worth only half the listed price.
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