MoChridhe_resume

Critical Thinking and the Persistent Story

In my last post, I discussed some of the reasons that I think we have probably passed the point of “peak literacy” in the regions formerly known as the Western world. This drew a very thoughtful response from my good friend and colleague Christopher Cocchiarella at Mindful Media Musing. In that post, he does an excellent job of describing in more detail the various levels of functional literacy and of collecting the statistics to show that shockingly low percentages of the US population exceed “basic” and “intermediate”. In identifying why he feels this is such a problem, however, he makes what I think … Read More

MoChridhe_resume

Peak Literacy

I was recently invited to interview for a gig answering questions via live chat for fifty cents a minute. What struck me about this was that I was contacted in my capacity as a scholar of world religions and, indeed, my interview included me responding to a number of prompts such as “What caused the Sunni/Shiite split?” Who, I wondered, is paying something, perhaps, on the order of a dollar a minute to ask these kinds of questions? I could see spending that money to ask a medical professional if your problem warrants seeing a doctor (who will charge you … Read More

MoChridhe_resume

There’s a Sheep Loose in the Lane

Every week, I help high schoolers with their research projects. I watch them take the assignment, type its prompt questions exactly into Google, and then copy-paste the answer from the search result preview box into their slideshow/paper/spreadsheet. They evince no awareness of whether the text they are plagiarizing is thematically compatible with what they have already copied, or even whether it is grammatically consistent with the previously stolen sentence. On those rare occasions when it does dawn on them that what is in the box may not be what they need, they look at me like I’ve started speaking Welsh when I actually click … Read More