Tuesday, October 29, 2013

CH. 3 reflection

As more and more of our lives become dependent on digital technologies, it is interesting to notice the shift in our learning behaviors. Traditionally, Americans would either read the news in a newspaper or watch the evening news. As televisions became staples in our lives, a shift was already occurring. While TV views and ratings went up, the amount of news programming developed from just one news show- Walter Cronkite on the evening news, to entire channels dedicated to news casting 24-7. During this time, there were plenty of skeptics to say TV was bad, and terrible distraction that children were sucked into which offered little-to-no-good to society. But oh, if these skeptics could just see us now...

Now, digital technologies have replaced the traditional TV set, and then some.

As for television news, it is now generally distrusted by most Americans (along with most other mass media, as well), who now find their news stories online. With the use of the Internet, anything is possible. You can search specific information or browse news stories at your convenience, so who would wants to make time to sit in front of the TV during dinner time? And by reading the news online, you are in direct control of the source, so you can make sure what you're reading is credible.

Reading news online also allows us to become more informed. Hyper-linking is used in most articles, as a way for the author to give the readers control of the direction of the information. In-text links are optional pathways leading from the original article, to other relevant sites that we, as readers, can choose to explore. Following these links is an easy way to become well-rounded on the topic you are interested in. Some argue that these hyper-links are changing the way we learn, and I would agree. Online learning itself has increased the pace in which we read and process information, and hyper-links can be distractions away from the real message. I know personally, I am much less likely to completely read a paragraph if there is a hyper-link in it. Usually I scan the words until I reach the link, then hover over it to learn where the link leads. If I find it interesting I will click it, but not always. Sometimes, just simply hovering over the link gives me enough information to decided if it's interesting to me or not.

Hyper-linking may lead to less-focused reading, but if you aren't interested in the article, you probably weren't too focused in the first place. I think the benefits of links outweigh the negatives, because it allows those truly interested a way to learn more, and become more well-rounded on the subject. For articles that are less-than-gripping, I as an online reader appreciate the links because I use them for skimming and gaining a basic knowledge. I know that reading online may feed my short attention span, but I think the important thing is to realize the downsides and understand how to adapt with the developing technologies.

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