Thursday, June 23, 2005

Brain candy

This is an interesting take on the "video games and TV versus reading," and "we're all going down the tube with our lowest common denominator popular culture" issue. I blogged about it on liblog recently, quoting an article in the SLAQ serial "Access." Now I've discovered a book review in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell. The book is “Everything Bad Is Good for You” (Riverhead; $23.95), by Steven Johnson. The point is made that our IQ is rising, despite our wallowing in popular culture, and Johnson claims that television and games require much more brain work and a different understanding. Gladwell remarks ...

"The point is that books and video games represent two very different kinds of learning. When you read a biology textbook, the content of what you read is what matters. Reading is a form of explicit learning. When you play a video game, the value is in how it makes you think. Video games are an example of collateral learning, which is no less important.

Being “smart” involves facility in both kinds of thinking—the kind of fluid problem solving that matters in things like video games and I.Q. tests, but also the kind of crystallized knowledge that comes from explicit learning."

Might I extend this to the fact that many different forms of literacy and thinking require different types of thinking, different genres or disciplines? And as we remarked in Liblog, they are all aspects of literacy.
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