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Feature Article
Is Technology Making Us Smarter? Yes!
Stephen Downes, Jul 03, 2017.

To understand the ways technology is making us smarter in 2017, let’s examine the ways we are told technology is making us less intelligent.

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To Test Your Fake News Judgment, Play This Game
Tennessee Watson, NPR, 2017/07/03


The premise of this article is that you can learn how to distinguish between real news and fake news by playing this game. Try it here. With games and simulations, however, the assumptions matter a lot. A case in point: the first article I read was titled "Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones." Now I know that this is not true, so I clicked "fake" and was corrected. Here's the justification: "That was actually a news article. [View it here] The Telegraph is a major British newspaper, generally regarded as reliable. It cites a Microsoft study, which can be verified." But newspapers, even the Telegraph, often run fake news stories. And the 'study' mentioned here (not 'cited': there is no link or reference) is dubious; as this criticism points out, "no definition of attention span is given, and it’s not at all clear how these numbers were developed." You can't just depend on the source to distinguish between fake news and real news. That should be the first lesson in the game, not the first error.

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Questioning the status quo
David Atkinson, University World News, 2017/07/03


Grant MacEwan University president David Atkinson argues that a new type of teaching-focused university has emerged in western Canada, one that grants both trades-focused diplomas along with academic degrees, and he suggests that perhaps more thinking about the core structures of our post-secondary education system is needed. His insttution reflects a trend especially evident in western Canada of converting community colleges (such as Grant  MacEwan Community College) into degree-granting universities. There is definitely a demand for their programs. But do they really represent a rethinking of basic structures, or are they a retrenchment of them?

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Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.