My daily readings 01/19/2012

  • tags: social discovery

    • Tagged also launched its own in-house development studio last year, Sarner says, because it found that the games that did the best achieved the company’s aims were built by Tagged itself. There are still a few games built by third parties on the network, but moving forward the company’s focus will be in-house.

       

      Unlike the better-known social networks, Tagged focuses on what it calls “social discovery,” or, as Sarner describes it, “the meet new people space” (as opposed to connecting you online with your real world friends). Sarner argues that other companies are finally starting to catch on to the potential here.

  • tags: learning Education

  • tags: learning Education

  • tags: distraction attention focus

    • The most remarkable result of the experiment emerged when Small repeated the tests six days later. In the interim, the novices had agreed to spend an hour a day online, searching the Internet. The new scans revealed that their brain activity had changed dramatically; it now resembled that of the veteran surfers. “Five hours on the Internet and the naive subjects had already rewired their brains,” Small wrote. He later repeated all the tests with 18 more volunteers and got the same results.
    • But as Small was careful to point out, more brain activity is not necessarily better brain activity. The real revelation was how quickly and extensively Internet use reroutes people’s neural pathways. “The current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate,” Small concluded, “but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.”
    • Dozens of studies by psychologists, neurobiologists, and educators point to the same conclusion: When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning. Even as the Internet grants us easy access to vast amounts of information, it is turning us into shallower thinkers, literally changing the structure of our brain.
    • Back in the 1980s, when schools began investing heavily in computers, there was much enthusiasm about the apparent advantages of digital documents over paper ones. Many educators were convinced that introducing hyperlinks into text displayed on monitors would be a boon to learning. Hypertext would strengthen critical thinking, the argument went, by enabling students to switch easily between different viewpoints. Freed from the lockstep reading demanded by printed pages, readers would make all sorts of new intellectual connections between diverse works. The hyperlink would be a technology of liberation.
    • Navigating linked documents, it turned out, entails a lot of mental calisthenics—evaluating hyperlinks, deciding whether to click, adjusting to different formats—that are extraneous to the process of reading. Because it disrupts concentration, such activity weakens comprehension. A 1989 study showed that readers tended just to click around aimlessly when reading something that included hypertext links to other selected pieces of information. A 1990 experiment revealed that some “could not remember what they had and had not read.”
    • Research continues to show that people who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read text peppered with links. In a 2001 study, two scholars in Canada asked 70 people to read “The Demon Lover,” a short story by Elizabeth Bowen. One group read it in a traditional linear-text format; they’d read a passage and click the word next to move ahead. A second group read a version in which they had to click on highlighted words in the text to move ahead. It took the hypertext readers longer to read the document, and they were seven times more likely to say they found it confusing. Another researcher, Erping Zhu, had people read a passage of digital prose but varied the number of links appearing in it. She then gave the readers a multiple-choice quiz and had them write a summary of what they had read. She found that comprehension declined as the number of links increased—whether or not people clicked on them. After all, whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which is itself distracting.
    • And if links are bad for concentration and comprehension, it shouldn’t be surprising that more recent research suggests that links surrounded by images, videos, and advertisements could be even worse.
    • The depth of our intelligence hinges on our ability to transfer information from working memory, the scratch pad of consciousness, to long-term memory, the mind’s filing system. When facts and experiences enter our long-term memory, we are able to weave them into the complex ideas that give richness to our thought. But the passage from working memory to long-term memory also forms a bottleneck in our brain. Whereas long-term memory has an almost unlimited capacity, working memory can hold only a relatively small amount of information at a time. And that short-term storage is fragile: A break in our attention can sweep its contents from our mind.
    • On the Net, we face many information faucets, all going full blast. Our little thimble overflows as we rush from tap to tap. We transfer only a small jumble of drops from different faucets, not a continuous, coherent stream.
    • Psychologists refer to the information flowing into our working memory as our cognitive load. When the load exceeds our mind’s ability to process and store it, we’re unable to retain the information or to draw connections with other memories. We can’t translate the new material into conceptual knowledge. Our ability to learn suffers, and our understanding remains weak. That’s why the extensive brain activity that Small discovered in Web searchers may be more a cause for concern than for celebration. It points to cognitive overload.
  • tags: distraction

  • tags: focus

    • You might have heard the expression, “you get what you focus on.” But, have you heard that what you focus on actually reshapes your brain? The act of paying attention creates chemical and physical changes in your brain. David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz write about how focused attention can physically change the structure of your brain in their article, “The Neuroscience of Leadership”, in “strategy+business” magazine.
  • tags: NoSQL

    • DynamoDB is a “a fully managed NoSQL database” that can be scaled up or down according to demand. Amazon takes care of all the provisioning and management of the database. The whole service takes advantage of solid-state drives, greatly speeding up the transfer of data from the database (which is often a bottleneck).
  • tags: learning

  • tags: education

  • tags: quotes

    • Ideas on this? Here’s one idea: it doesn’t have to be quotes per se,
      it can be any short nugget of valuable info that a particular group
      wants to share. Think short food recipes, hacks, poems, whatever

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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