Wired for Distraction?

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Richard Lyons, from Faculty Development Associates, just posted a link to this NY Times story to the POD listserv:

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

November 21, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/technology/21brain.html?pagewanted=1&hp

It is a fascinating follow-up to our "millennial" presentations earlier this semester.  What I am wondering as I read this is whether this seeming inability to focus on schoolwork is going to disadvantage these kids as adults. 

Clearly, teachers and faculty still consider the ability to concentrate and focus to be important skills.  Likewise, the research literature also indicates that they are important for deep learning.  And It seems like employers still want these skills in their employees.  Will things change as these school kids become the employers?  It will be interesting to see...

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Quotes like this:
"I prefer the immediate gratification"

Seem to be common. Whether it's games, texting, surfing the web, etc...one thing seems to be common: students are almost always in a near-synchronous exchanges of information. The one girl from the article talks about having 6 different conversations via txt going at a single time. By definition, that's asynchronous, but the responses come so fast it's probably some different sort of communication between asynchronous and synchronous communication. Same thing seems to be going on with Facebook, as some people post responses to updates almost instantaneously.

This reminds me of Chas's post below about videogames, and Tom Chatfield's 7 ways games reward the brain. I'm not sure simply ramping up technology use for instruction is the answer. A focus on combining technology and in-class methods for quick, frequent feedback for all students in the course seems to be a great first step.

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