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Friday, 9 October 2015

BBC article on eroding memory! Yes I knew I was loosing it somehow! - with a bit of a review of the literature and Harvard referencing

I look at the BBC pretty much everyday - but I did connect with article about using digital technology

whose byline is "An over-reliance on using computers and search engines is weakening people's memories, according to a study."

Digital dependence 'eroding human memory'


  1. Hi Paula,
    A very interesting article and one I have mixed feelings about. From my teaching experience I would say that it is quite evident that children today do not have the same memory skills as children I taught several years ago. I have spoken to other teachers about this and they are of the same opinion. I think this is largely to do with the way the education system is structured today. When I was at school we had frequent memory tests and were not allowed to take anything into the exam as a point of reference. You had to know your stuff! Nowadays they can take in things like calculators to the exam room and of course there has been lots of emphasis on course work and less emphasis on examinations. There isn't the same need for children to commit reams of text to heart. The emphasis is supposed to be more on understanding and less on learning by rote. The trouble is that memory is a skill and, unless it is practiced, it either never fully develops or it diminishes with age! On the other hand, with the internet, we have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips and can find out what we want to know in a way that interests us. I have found, for instance, that Youtube has been a great visual learning tool for me for BAPP. I think the answer is to get the balance right and not to be too reliant on computers.

  2. I agree Lynn. Do you teach dance? This has made me question how this 'digital reliance' reflects on learning in children. I would like to speak to more dance professionals who have taught over say the last 10-20 years and see whether they think there has been a difference in attention span and retention in their dance classes. I know that in schools now, most children have access to tablets or computers from the very beginning so it seems there is more emphasis placed on the patterns to find knowledge rather than remembering it without prompting. In a way I feel this is practical and relevant to working life today, however it is scary in many ways... I wonder whether this is an argument for the importance of arts in schools.

  3. Yes there are many arguments for children and teaching in this issues - e.g. - talks about tablet time for children.

    The use of audio-visual in the arts and research as Lynn points out is now a tool that goes beyond 'description' to capturing what occurred - although you might argue that there is sometimes interpretation in film especially where editing has taken place. Lynn you mentioned observation and how to analyse it - social science observation (education) using multimodal devices still requires analysis and interpretation (what do the events mean in their context). There are some good sections on qualitative analysis in some of the research books online and there might be more specific ones in your literature for dance.

    Technology and how children cope with it is an area of study unto itself – but an interesting area if you are thinking about this for your topic Catherine.

    I think also this article was talking about adult learning - us - we are slipping into this world as well - perhaps not as well equipped in the language as the young ones.

  4. I found your critique on this the BBC article very interesting as I am starting to find a complete over-reliance on my computer or phone to memorise almost anything and everything. I used to jot down words and small notes on pieces of paper or on the back of my hand, but nowadays I find endless pages of notes and to do lists of the simplest things. A few days ago, after reading this article I decided to do a little experiment. Instead of writing down my usual to do list of the important things I had to get done, I memorized them instead. I thought I would be able to manage but to my surprise I found I had forgotten over half of the things I needed to do. Not because these things weren't important to me, but because I did not have my usual list on my phone to tick off every completed 'task' and to basically tell me what the next one was! It actually scared me a bit, and I worry for the younger generation that are born into all this technology. I remember the first breeze chat where you mentioned 'digital amnesia' which made me think about the term in greater detail. It's a fascinating article about a topic that I think needs to be addressed. I never even realised how my memory was deteriorating, purely down to nothing else except what I have been doing to myself for the last couple of years, possibly starting back around my GCSE days!

  5. Thanks Nafisah - I think engagement is also important - if you are in tune with what is happening - then things seem to be absorbed more readily!

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