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My Dad Says "Kids today are Lazy!"

No really, he just posted about it on facebook. Funny conversation ensued.

Here is his link that supported what he is seeing in the classroom.

For those of you that don't care to scan that whole article, here is a funny video that mocks the idea.

And here is my reply to Dad.

Dad, I would argue that what you are seeing is not a generational trend but a trend across all generations. We are writing and reading much more short pieces than we were 40 years ago. Same can be said about 18 year olds as 50 year olds. There are both pluses and minuses to the trend.

It's all a matter of degree though. Our current vice president and MLK were both caught plagiarizing work/speeches.

There is a valid question about whether or not there is really any value in rewriting a paper on a topic that can just as well be learned about by a quick Wikipedia search. Certainly there is value in the skill, but the end product is just wastebasket feed.

Maybe Academia should focus on the skills needed to research and communicate in the info age, look at things like finding online sources to support a point, analyzing biases, and debunking logical fallacies in the arguments of others.

Or you could just complain...



(I'll use short sentences so you can keep up.)

Information is not the be-all and end-all. Your brain discards more information in a day than you consciously absorb in a month, if not a year.

Learning is, fundamentally, pattern recognition. When you recognize a pattern and can apply it predictively, you have learned something. In order to recognize a pattern, you have to store data points in memory. The more data points you store, the more sophisticated your pattern recognition can be. The conclusion is that rote learning of basics is ESSENTIAL to building a foundation for more advanced learning later on.

Thinking, and applying information usefully, absolutely depends on an awareness of context. If you can't put information in context, then you can't put it to any significant use.

Developing the ability to focus on and process complex information take practice. Stultifying, tedious practice. The conclusion is that rote learning of basics is ESSENTIAL to building a foundation for more advanced learning later on. (Sound familiar?)

The internet is a fantastic resource for information. If people can't remember anything, and can't think in any depth because of it, all that information -- and the internet -- is completely useless.

This is really well said. Bravo!

It is my opinion about short attention spans that I like muffins.

Would those be English Muffins or American Muffins?

Or maybe -


How old ARE you common commenters anyways?

From the youtube page: "This was crash hot kids UK kids TV in 1955."

Now I'm curious. What does the readership age histogram of onegoodmove look like? Am I the youngest reader here? (20, been reading/lurking for perhaps 4 years)

I highly recommend Frontline's coverage on this issue from lat week:

html also has a short attention span.

quote - gah! "quotation"! Grammar nerd alert...

And was it Socrates that was down on writing because it would result in less building of our memories? (yes, I looked it up on Google to make sure it wasn't actually Plato).

and what about our prison population?

Our prisoners have lots of time to read.

I was already turning my attention to the next post. ;~)

Utter nonsense. If want a doctorate specialize. Otherwise learn something completely irrelevant every day. I'd like to see some evidence to support any of those theories about the internet degrading cognitive skills. On the contrary studies made by OISE showed that switching learning from task to task was helpful to the overall process. Boredom not so much.

My guess is that it reduces some skills but has an overall positive impact on intelligence.

Stupid people might become more stupid.

One issue with the Internet vs a good school... people gravitate toward information they agree with, vs being bombarded with many different opinions and needing to fight their way through.

It's like living in a Cult Compound vs traveling the world and witnessing many cultures first hand.

my point being that in school, you are forced to see many sides to an issue, but in the internet people tend to self-censor things they disagree with or find boring.

My father has been a Professor in a highly ranked program for 30 years. He said that starting 3-5 years ago he saw the beginning of a downturn, and in the last 2 years a significant downturn in the abilities of most students. They are increasingly lazy, rude and expect that a bare minimum of effort should be greatly rewarded by a pliant instructor.

He's seen 30 years of freshmen and has been Teacher of the Year several times, and converses with younger instructors about the same issue. They believe that this generation has been given much without much effort and they haven't learned etiquette or work ethic. They expect the rest of their lives to be like their childhood.

My guess would be that his school has recently lowered its admission standards. A drastic change in enetering students over the space of just a couple of years is implausible if only because two crops of students leaving a given high school, say, 3 years apart have many parents and teachers in common.

I do think we've seen a gradual decay in the abilities of students over the 20+ years I've been teaching. I've actually heard some fairly convincing evidence that this is not just due to my gradual conversion into an 'old fart'. I and my colleagues have lots of pet theories for why this is happening.


"Stultifying, tedious practice."

Horn fifths muffed:

OMG, OGM, like, each and every of us will practice, and master, some "thing", what that thing is is, like

the like, quest...


I attneded an orchestra rehearsal last night of some folks, many of whom were young, and oriental, I noticed that the brass were missing a lot of notes on the 1812 Chai-kovsky Overture, I was informed that the "French" horns (the players) were texting inside their campinelli, righthandedly, while counting rests?.

"Not" hardly. !


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