reading response

Oooo, something shiny!

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As much as I want to champion all things digital, the question of attention/generation-text always gets me! I legitimately have no argument against this issue. It is happening all around us. Willingness of readers to invest themselves into a full-length book is waning. The article mentions a number of grievous examples of this--abridged texts and blurb-based reviews.

Romano poses a question: How will academia react to this shift? History has shown that these types of issues often have a polarizing effect, forcing the academy to adopt a more extreme position.

Clinging to the Past

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Romano....c'mon man. This is a very twisted argument that has a simple solution. First, do kids have shorter attention spans "these days" compared to previous generations? Yes, I guess you could say that (not that I knew my parents or grandparents as kids so who would I be to judge this) so let me answer again. Yes, from what I have been told "kids these days cannot focus like they use to." Oh come on this is some bs. I will tell you why kids don't "focus as well" or better yet obey elders such as professors or mentors like they have in the past.

The Case Against Gen Z'ers

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Older people seem to think that the Gen Z'ers are missing what's important in life, as caught up as they are in "networking," as Romano says, "in actual or virtual realities." I cannot argue against the evidence. We obviously are attached to our smart phones and social media, are certainly caught up in the mini-worlds of culture we individually possess as a result of listening to music "audible only to [us] inside the cocoon of digital systems." Are we really wired differently from our elders? Not so much wired differently as programmed differently. But, yes.

Word Count: Less than 400

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Romano makes many valid points. First of all, students do have short attention spans when it comes to reading for classes. For example, I can read the articles for this class because I look at the length and realize it’s not that much. On the other hand, I have to read 50 pages of an anthology for British Literature for tomorrow. It’s probably not going to happen. In order to compensate for students and readers who get overwhelmed by a lot of pages like me (when it comes to dull readings for classes), is to make shorter books.

I Believe in the Book

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So the simple answer is yes, the book will survive generation text. I have neither proof of this answer nor any logical reasoning; I just have a belief in the book. That’s not to say that my answer should be completely ignored, though. It’s exactly that kind of belief that will help the book survive. Perhaps students will not want to read entire books, but dammit they are going to have read them. Some may see this stubborn adherence to the traditional book as silly, as the opposite of progress.

Dumbing Down for Generation Text

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Romano’s question centers on one central idea – “the death of the book as object of study, the disappearance of "whole" books as assigned reading.” (2) New generations entering academia have the lowest attention span imaginable and are constantly distracted. Should these students be asked to read entire book? In a word – Yes. And I think it’s now more important than ever. Having no attention span and not being able to go 4 minutes without checking one’s phone is…pathetic. Having students focus on one task for hours at a time is a necessary skill that they need to be able to do.

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