How you feel about this will impact your view of education. What do you want your brain to be able to do? What do you expect of your students with regard to learning? What do consider to be reasonable expectations from instructors?

Cognitive Offloading: How the Internet is Increasingly Taking Over Human Memory

Our increasing reliance on the Internet and the ease of access to the vast resource available online is affecting our thought processes for problem solving, recall and learning. In a new article published in the journal Memory, researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz and University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign have found that ‘cognitive offloading’, or the tendency to rely on things like the Internet as an aide-mémoire, increases after each use. We might think that memory is something that happens in the head but increasingly it is becoming something that happens with the help of agents outside the head.

“Using the Internet to access information inflates future use of the Internet to access other information” by Benjamin C. Storm, Sean M. Stone and Aaron S. Benjamin in Memory. Published online July 18 2016 doi:10.1080/09658211.2016.1210171