Sunday, April 25, 2010

Putting a Face with that Brain

I finished reading iBrain during a recent trip with friends. Keep in mind that we enjoyed each other's company and conversation yet respected the individual's need for reflection. During those quiet moments of reading and dreaming I came to value our face to face conversations. It was the perfect time to be reading chapter 7 "Reconnecting Face To Face" because the authors were addressing how technology has impacted the usual personal interactions that build everyday social skills. This trip allowed me to practice some of the tips the authors invite technology users to embrace such as turning off your gadgets, becoming an attentive listener,increasing awareness of nonverbal cues, and most of all maintaining off-line connections.

Chapter 8 identified the tools a person needs to have in their technology tool kit. Within that toolkit there needs to be knowledge of the etiquette for messaging and emailing, efficient use of search engines, online safety and privacy,and authentication of material found online.The authors state that the good news is that at any age our brain can create new neural pathways as we update our technology skills.

"Bridging the Brain Gap" closes the book with an identification of two subgroups found within Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. The natives are defined as the Millennials (1981-2000) and the Generation Xers(1965-1980)while the immigrants are defined as the Baby Boomers (1946-1964)and Seniors (before1946). There is no one solution on closing the gap, it will vary and "involve finding a balance between adapting to new technology and nurturing people skills." (p.186)

I'd like to leave you with an interesting statement made near the end of chapter 9 that you may find distressing or exciting. It all depends upon your personal perspective on life. "As brain-computer interface research advances, it will not only help us find ways to prevent and repair neural damage but also lead to an era when our minds will directly control electronic devices- hence the post keyboard age."(p.187) I realize it may sound like science fiction but it is becoming a reality in today's world. Feel free to comment. I would love to hear your views.