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Sharon Turner

EAP Teacher (English for Academic Purposes), Sabanci University

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Does Nicholas Carr's premise (in his book 'The shallows') that the Internet is changing the way we think apply to non-linear thinkers?

While reading Nicholas Carr's book, "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to our Brains," I was struck by a line where he described the threat to the linear brain and described today's thinkers as jugglers who skim and scan but the art of deep, critical thought is diminishing. How about for those of us who do not think in a linear fashion, but have had linear schooling and thought imposed on our own way of thinking? How about those of us who have been jugglers from birth? For those of us who are non-linear thinkers do you find that the Internet enhances your thinking ability? Are you able to think deeply and to still juggle?

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    Aug 2 2011: Thanks James for the definition. It is what I tho─▒ught it was. I am also a global thinker too and a teacher at a university. Even though I teach both ways as well unfortunately my students who are global thinkers are not tested globally. Have you found this to be the case in your institution. I will look up Howard Gardner's "Frames of Minds". I have decided that this winter is my time to finally sit down and try to read everything that Howard Gardner has ever written. He spoke at our conference this year in June and was so lucid and brilliant that although I have read a few of his books I was inspired to read everything else. Take care.
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    Aug 1 2011: Global learners can learn from the internet and it could actually enhance learning because it is non linear in the way information can be found is my opinion. I am a global learner myself and having things like this discussion forum has helped me understand others better and helped me get a deeper view of different ideas.
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      Aug 1 2011: Hi James,

      Thanks for the response. I agree for me too it enhances learning as it works like my brain. I wanted to ask you to define global learning. There are so many definitions of thinking that mean different things to different people so I was curious to know how you would define yourself as a global learner.
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        Aug 1 2011: It is learning without the need to have a linear progression of information. I also see it as the ability to bring together different types of information into a unified whole with out the need of sequential reasoning. Let me give an example. When I worked repairing aircraft I worked with a brilliant man who was a pure linear thinker as an engineer. He rationally put things together step by step. As a facilities engineer I could walk into a lab and see the whole picture as a unified drawing of what needed to be built and I did not need to do it step by step. It just was there as a total picture. Howard Gardner in "Frames of Mind" talks more about this. Also Eric Jensen in his Brain Based Learning series discusses this way of thinking as well as linear thinking. Both work and as a middle school teacher I had to be able to present information in both ways. If you watch TV and can see the show "House" he is a brilliant medical diagnostician that thinks in a global fashion. Well the character any way!!. If you have experienced the "Eureka " moment of understanding you have a higher probability of being a global thinker. It may also be tied to inductive and deductive reasoning. Inductive would be more global and deductive would be more linear. None of these are absolutes but illustrate the differences.
        Best wishes