Sunday, July 27, 2014

Turn off the Television

We haven't had our television on for an entire week.

Well, I take that back -- I turned it on briefly to listen to the news this morning while getting dressed, but other than that - nada.

The impetus for this little experiment came about accidentally as Mr. SIGIS and I were sitting outside with friends one evening recently; we were talking about how listening to baseball on the radio is not the same as watching it on television.  I much prefer the radio because then you have to engage your brain to visualize what is happening.  We talked about how people don't remember things anymore because everything you need to know is in your smartphone -- why make the effort to remember?

Our digital age has changed the way our brains work, I think.  And not necessarily in a good way.  We have access to more knowledge, but we are not necessarily smarter.

As a veteran teacher, I have seen a change in the way we must teach kids, too.  Kids that have never not known life without a cell phone, computer, or XBOX now must be entertained in order to learn.  Learning has to be "engaging."

At any rate, we turned the TV off a week ago and as a result, Mr. SIGIS has read two and a half books so far, and I have read the nearly eight-hundred page Pultizer Prize winning The Goldfinch which I fished out of our Little Free Library on the corner.

It's been a worthwhile experiment and we will likely just leave the blasted thing off for a while.  We really haven't missed it.  And there is so much to be read!  To that end, make note that The New Yorker has opened its archives through the end of summer and there is a whole boatload of stuff to read there - both fiction and non-fiction.  Business Insider has a pretty good list to get you started.


Jayhawk said...

When the Narnia movie first came out I was by no means sure I wanted to see it. I had read the books repeatedly as a child and had created my own imagry of the universe and the creatures created in words by C. S Lweis, and I was not convinced that I wanted to know how someone else pictured them.

Reading is so much more rewarding than watching a movie or a show on television. You mucg use your mind and your imagination to create the imagry of the word pictures that the author paints for you.

Jazzie Wonder said...

I agree with you somewhat. I do believe the digital age will change our brains. Before it was more about how much knowledge could you cram into your brain and retain. Now it's about how good are you at finding information and discerning your findings. I think that the retention part may be weakening or weakened. How many phone numbers do you know compared to 20 years ago? I feel like our brains will re-purpose and make another part(s) of our brains faster, stronger or efficient. It's bad in some ways, I think it will be good in others.