Post-its and Ponderings
A middle school teacher's thoughts on science, technology and learning

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Are News Sites "Dumbing Down"?

A few months ago, I noticed a disturbing trend. When I clicked to read an article on CNN, an unfamiliar box appeared at the top of my article.

We live in a world of Cliff Notes & bullet points. Do we really need them in our news sources too? Textbooks are constantly becoming more clear and organized, to facilitate student's content reading skills. But what is going to happen when they encounter information that is not separated into color-coded headings? What will they do when the sentences do not all end at the bottom of the page?

In my experience, most (middle school) kids will do the bare minimum to complete their work. They are well trained to look for the bold words and fill in the blanks. I strive to give them assignments that force them to consider the gestalt before composing their answers. I think the "Story Highlights" are a step in the wrong direction.

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