Monday, November 29, 2010

Multitasking: Destroying focus?

Test your multitasking ability with the NY Times.
Pictured above are my personal results.
In a previous post, I made a jab at multitaskers--using one article to suggest that having to switch frequently between tasks means that we do all of our desired tasks worse than before.

A string of Windows 7 commercials like this one hits the nail on the head: being able to do more at the same time in fact limits what we can do at once. Fascinating, no?

The question for me as a teacher is: 

How is this Affecting Our students?
It's hard to say at the middle school level where I teach, because these students have never been known for great attention spans. At the college level, many students bring in their laptops and unlimited distraction capabilities with them into the classroom. My kids don't bring their laptops anywhere (few probably own one), but I'm worried that with every new smartphone that hits the market, our culture is pushing this myth that the more things you can do at once, the better person you will become. When article after article after article report that multitasking does not increase effectiveness, I say that this is not doing a great deal to help our young people take full advantage of their powerful minds.
Test your multitasking ability with the NY Times.
Pictured above are my personal results.

Prove It To Your Students
Try this lesson plan to show your students about the cost of multitasking.

Test Your Own Multitasking Savvy
If you think that this claim is not true, try taking this test posted by the NY Times.
My scores are pictured on the right and above right. 

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