Introducing New Book Series: ‘Connected Youth and Digital Futures’

Monday, May 02, 2016 Comment Book Series Collage of book covers for 'Any Media Necessary' and 'The Class'

Building on research supported by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative, a new series “Connected Youth and Digital Futures,” is debuting its first two books — By Any Media Necessary: The New Activism of American Youth and The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age. This series offers books that describe the ways that the day-to-day lives and futures of young people are being reconfigured at the intersection of civil and political reform, transformation in employment and education and the penetration of digital technologies across all domains of social and personal life. Why

The Book Test

Monday, December 28, 2015 Comment 5 children reading books on couch

Launa Hall’s recent essay in the Washington Post describes her misgivings and concerns about her third-grade students using ipads in the classroom. Hall describes a handful of arresting moments when her students’ ipad use caused them to tune out both her and each other in favor of their devices, setting the contemporary technology aesthetic of “sleek devices” and “shining screens” against the “give-and-take” of “human interaction.” Hall’s essay is one of a modern genre that despairs over the growing ubiquity of mobile technologies and their impact on human values like conversation and connectedness, but it is

The Technophobe’s Dilemma: Nicholas Carr’s ‘The Glass Cage’

Monday, November 10, 2014 Comment cockpit of plane pilot sitting in seat working on computer while plane is in auto pilot

Nicholas Carr is well-known for his work critiquing emerging technologies, particularly his argument that “Google is making us stupid.” In his new book, “The Glass Cage: Automation and Us” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2014), he works in the same vein, taking on automation, or “the use of computers and software to do things we used to do ourselves.” Unfortunately, as with his argument against Google, in this book, Carr works too hard to demonize automation technologies, stretching examples and not working through the logic of his arguments. The end result is disappointing. Carr’s genuine insights

An Apologia for Copying

Thursday, September 13, 2012 Comment groups of students working at laptops in library

I was on a Google hangout with some friends the other day, and we were talking about the thisness and thatness of life. Conversations (as they always do) veered towards books we were reading and that started a torrent of recommendations and links, of books one should read, books one should absolutely read, and books that one should read or might as well just give up. The books were from different parts of the world. They were in different languages. If I had not been in this conversation with a bunch of people who are not

First Person: The Book Tour in the Age of the Internet

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 Comment woman reading a book waiting for a subway

Note: We asked tech-savvy scholar Cathy Davidson to reflect on the realities of an author’s tour in the digital age.  Her new book, “Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn” explores whether our brains are cut out for the age of ubiquitous connection.  I’m just back from Washington, DC, where I gave talks at the Howard Hughes Janelia Research Center and at the NEH Start-Up Grant Conference.  I signed books supplied by Politics and Prose Independent Bookstore, as organized by Perry Pidgeon Hooks, and