Critical Thinking On Thinking Activity
“The medium is the message”, is a famous quote that Marshal McLuhan (1) used decades ago for explaining that the channel in which the information is exposed differently influences the human mind. As the communication channels evolve, the human mind also evolves, while interacting with the new technology forms, according to Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid”. Reading, a traditional activity, is permanently adjusted to the new technology, changing the way in which people read and think. My experience with reading has changed and online reading shaped several new habits for me.
I found the online reading more facile and less time consuming than the classical one, because of its features incorporated in the technological environment that provides it. For instance, while reading an online article, I found it very useful to utilize the CTRL+F keys, for searching key words in order to select what most interests me from the text. In addition, the fact that I can scroll along the article, with a simple mouse touch, allowed me to capture several words and connect them with the paragraphs that I spent more time reading. I created meaning based on selective reading, when I read online.
In comparison, after reading the same article in print version, I perceived it a less effective experience. I even had the feeling that the reading was a burden, as many of the information that I read were not as interesting as I expected. I had to make an effort to focus harder, while reading the print version, as the concepts that I read required a deeper focus. In the online reading experience, when I stumbled of concepts that were new to me, I opened a new tab and looked them up through the Google search engine. This option is not available in the print version, unless using a technological device for assisting my print reading. From this point of view, I found the online reading version more detailed and more effective, as it included the opportunity of further developing the information. The print version, on the other hand, exposed me to a greater variety of information, because I spent more time reading it, line by line. Because the CTRL+F option is not available in the printed format, I could not engage in a selective reading, hence I had to read the entire article. Although it was more time consuming and the effort for understanding the information was higher, I found the online reading experience more consistent, influencing me to process an insightful analysis.
Comparatively, the online reading engaged me in the process of reading and thinking by developing my creative thinking, because I was creating meaning through selective reading, while the print version developed my analytical thinking, as I was interpreting the information through comprehensive reading. While the print version challenged my attention, it nevertheless engaged me, so that I read the entire article in this form. On the other hand, the online reading did not engage me at the same level, because my mind traversed across other tabs, accumulating other information, while losing interest in pursuing with the reading of the online article. Because I accumulated more information from the printed version, which developed my analytical thinking, I naturally recall more from the printed version. Nevertheless, I recall a significant part of the online article, due to its pagination, the use of the selective reading (CTRL+F) and the additional search for specific terms, using the online environment.
Therefore, while reading the same article online and in print versions, I can state that the online reading engaged me more in the creative process, but did not kept me on the same tab for a long time. The print version required more time to process the information, but engaged my analytical thinking and kept me longer in front of the printed paged.
Carr, Nicholas. Is Google Making Us Stupid? The Atlantic. Available at http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/. Accessed 3 March, 2015. Online.
McCluhan, Marshall. “The Medium is the Message”. Understanding Media: The Extension of Man. New York: Sphere Books. 1969. Print.
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