While I wasn't able to attend AASL this year, I followed along via Twitter. I was interested in the responses to Nicholas Carr's keynote speech with a title similar to his recent article in Atlantic Monthly--Is Google Making Us Stupid? Some interesting points in his article do make one stop and think about what's happening to our brains in the age of the Internet.
Most people find it hard these days to concentrate on reading for long periods of time. I know I see this in kids every day. "Reading is hard," and "I don't like books--they're too long" are comments I hear on a regular basis. Carr's article points out that people tend to skim when reading online--bouncing along the surface like "a jet ski" as they look for information rather than reading something indepth. Hyperlinks added to text don't help either--those tempting links are more than one can resist sometimes and then the distractions begin. I can't count how many times I've been looking for one thing and ended up somewhere else---and still don't know what I originally was looking for.
Carr ends his article with a comparison to the hue and cry that resulted from the invention of the printing press--people in that time thought the world was changig and intellectual laziness would result. And we know that didn't happen. So maybe this is the same thing.
But I must admit I see changes in children's reading habits and not for the better...