Smart Classroom Exercise: The Shallows References


I. Working with a partner for ten minutes, analyze the Wikipedia article that you've been assigned. All the articles relate to the chapter of The Shallows that your TA has chosen for the writing assignment. Pay attention to:

1) Are there any editorial notes at the top about possibly disputed content or problematic features in its tone or use of evidence? Reading the article, why do you think doubts about its appropriateness were raised?

2) How much does the article link to other Wikipedia articles and how much does it link to other kinds of Internet sources?

3)   Does it include references to print sources?  Does this make the article seem more or less trustworthy?  (These sources may be vetted by paid editors, but you can't access them as easily.)

4)   Would you consider linking the Wikipedia-style article that you are going to be writing to this one?  Why or why not?

II.             Everyone will then report back to the group.  Even if it isn't your turn, you will want to listen and look actively as you review the range of articles presented.  During this class discussion you should ask questions and make comments, so that everyone can succeed with this assignment, which is very different from the academic essays that you might have written in high school.

III. Now, with The Shallows in hand, you will work individually searching and browsing within Wikipedia to try to find at least one other relevant article that could be added to the existing list of articles.  You'll be discussing your suggestion with the group.

IV. If time remains your discussion leader will foster brainstorming about how the assignment could be logically organized.  Although Wikipedia articles often seem to use a similar template, there is actually a lot of variety in how articles are structured.

2.  The Vital Paths

Nietzsche’s typewriter (17-19)

Freud’s study of neural cells (19-20)

James’ interest in the brain’s adaptability and his reading of Dumont (21)

Early Cartesian models of the mind (22-23)

Merzenich (24-26)

Pascual-Leone  (31-33)

3. Tools for the Mind

Cartography (39-40)

Measuring Time (41-44)

Darning (44)

Geiger Counter (44)

Birth Control Pill (44)

Plato’s Phaedrus (54-55)

Ong’s Orality and Literacy (57)

4. The Deepening Page

Sumerian writing (58-59)

Papyrus (59-60)

St. Augustine’s Confessions (60-61)

Scriptio continua (61)

Gutenberg (68-69)

James Carroll (67)

octavo (70)

7. The Juggler’s Brain

Torkel Klingberg on working memory (118)

Unconscious thought theory of Dijksterhuis (119)

Eliot’s Four Quartets (119)

Johnson’s Everything Bad is Good for You (122-123)

George Landow (126)

multitasking (133)

Screen reading research - including “F pattern” (134-136)

Distraction (throughout)

8. The Church of Google

Taylorism (149-150)

Marissa Mayer (150-151)

A/B Testing (151)

Postman’s Technopoly (151-152)

Google Books (161-165)


Turing’s “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” (174)

9. Search, Memory

commonplace books (179)

Clive Thompson (180)

David Brooks (180)

Don Tapscott (181)

Mnemosyne (181)

Aplysia genus of sea slugs (184-185)

hippocampus (188-189)

David Foster Wallace (195)

10. A Thing Like Me

ELIZA (201-204)

computational linguistics (202)

Shaw’s Pygmalion (202-203)

Noam Chomsky (202)

John Culkin (210)

McLuhan’s Understanding Media (210-211)

Martin Heidegger (222)