Human Stupidity

This week in CEP 812, we read several chapters from James Paul Gee’s book The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning.  geeThroughout Part 1 of the book, Gee argues that humans are stupid.

I often find the word stupid to be a strong and bold word.  I can’t say I’m a fan of it very much.  However, Gee backs up his claim in identifying that we are “stupid” because we do not use our brain, especially our memory for what it was originally meant to be used for.  Instead, we have relied heavily on our memories.  Gee explains that our memory is not accurate in that it is manipulated and changed each time we try to recall an event.  The time and place at which you are recalling a memory can change it, along with your beliefs, or bias of what you want to recall.

He explains his justifications about memory in comparing it with a computer.  Gee states that computer’s have accurate memories because they were made to store information and save it.  The only way the information can be changed on a  computer is by an individual updating it, deleting it, or writing over it.  When he made this comparison it really made me think that he’s on to something.

In conclusion, I wrote a short essay focusing on the human memory as a limitation in preventing us to solve, big, complex problems smartly.

The question I have that still remains for me and I hope to find out while reading Part 2 of Gee’s book is; How can we as a whole start this movement of change to smarter thinking with the use of technology?  Where do we start and how can we make this change in society?


Gee. J., (2013).  The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning.       [Kindle Version]. Retrieved from

Signorelli, P. & Associates. (2013). James Paul Gee, The Anti-Education Era, and Personal Learning Networks. [Online Image]. Retrieved from

One thought on “Human Stupidity

  1. Your essay was helpful in recapping the limitations of human memory, as Gee explains in his book. I appreciate the connection you made to your classroom and the commitment you have made to utilizing a tool your students already have access to (i.e,. iPads) and the memory they offer. This seems like a great use of technology as a tool to replace an existing practice (asking or even forcing students to memorize information) that Gee highlights as very problematic, given that human memory is quite relative and constantly changing. I am curious if you could talk with your students about the differences between what they might remember and what the computer “remembers” or is able to recall via video and other recordings? I think it would be great if students, from a young age, were able to start understanding the limitations in solving complex problems that Gee describes, including relying on human memory. I think this type of conversation could be one way to get closer to that goal. I am also curious about the types of things you plan to have students record with their ipads and what things you will ask them to still rely on their memories for and how will you decide between the two?


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