Reaction To My Multitasking Article: The Teenagers Speak

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I continue to be astonished and gratified at the reaction to my article on how multitasking affects learning (read it here). I’ve been especially pleased to hear from the population that was the subject of the article: plugged-in teenagers. Here, a few of my favorite responses:

Abby: I was horrified to realized that I was among the people who fall into this category. I know that I am most productive when a phone, laptop, or tablet is not near me while I work. Unfortunately, the longest I’ve truthfully had all my technological devices put away during work was an hour at most—usually, when my phone battery was completely dead.

Selena: I agree that teenagers are really in touch with the mobile world, or the web. We don’t want to miss out on anything. But I don’t think that that’s all we care about. This article is saying that teenagers are so obsessed with their computer or phone that we can never put it down. If some people got their phone taken away for a  hour, I’m pretty sure that we could handle it. We are not only in touch with the mobile world, but we are also in touch with the real world.

Ibrahim: I am a student and sometimes I do fall under this category of texting or listening to music while doing work. Sometimes it throws me off. For example: When I’m texting, I’ll text a word like “wat” in the text message. Then when I go back to do my homework I automatically write “wat” instead of “what.” I do this because my mind isn’t used to switching the way I talk or write when I’m just texting to the way I write when I need to be formal.

Taylor: In my experience, teachers get distracted, too, by weird stuff like a pen on the floor across the room. Kids don’t get distracted any easier than adults.

John: Although this article is based on research, it’s not completely true. Doing homework and listening to music is not as much of a problem for me as the article says it is. Social networking is different, though. You can’t do homework and go on Facebook at the same time without losing quality in your work.

Danny:  I think that parents should take away their kids’ devices when an exam or something big is happening in school. If they don’t have their devices for a while they can focus on studying and doing their homework.

Kemal: I am a 18 year old student and I don’t feel the same temptation that is described in the article. I am not trying to sound like a mature adult who is perfect, but honestly, all that information that people post seems useless to me. It does not benefit me, so I don’t pay attention to it.

Alan: It seems like modern generations don’t appreciate the education that they are given. What’s more important in your life: a celebrity getting a haircut, or knowledge that is needed for the career that you want?

Fahim:  These modern devices are like a double-edged sword. They can help you but they can also hurt you. The generations need to be further educated on the toll that it can have on them.

B-zual:  Everyone is different. For some people, cell phone and other kinds of technology is a big benefit—while  studying, they use their cell phone for the dictionary or for other info that they need to know. I think it really depends on the person.

John: We live in a generation where technology is progressing rapidly. Whether you like it or not IT’S GOING TO BE A HUGE ASSET for our lives. In terms of social media, it’s our choice to multitask or get distracted.

Tamar: This article actually doesn’t surprise me because I’ve heard it all before. A lot of adults think that we don’t know that what we’re doing is wrong, but we do. When I multitask, my logic is, “At least I’m getting it done.” If teenagers really want to get some work done, we’ll get it done while resisting distractions. And yes, we text in class, but if my grade in that class is and A or a B I don’t see why it’s a problem.

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4 Responses to “Reaction To My Multitasking Article: The Teenagers Speak”

  1. Rebekah Schipper says:

    Fascinating responses to an excellent article. I teach at a school that has a one-to-one laptop program; my claim has always been that these tools can be just that “great tools” if, and only if, we teach our students how to be wise consumers. I’m in a constant state of playing “catch up” with the technologies that my students consume, so sometimes my role as their teacher seems daunting.

    Here’s an article I wrote as a model for one of my classes that I teach:
    http://cellphoneevolution.wordpress.com/my-rants/dont-you-dare-pause-me/

    You’ll have to forgive the “rough” nature of the blog; I’m new to the blog arena. So, I haven’t developed my blog much.

    • Patrick Warner says:

      I have a suggestion for you to take to your school officials. If they wish to utilize these “tools” to teach, then the children should be required to take a class on the effects of multitasking. This class should have a certificate for completion, and it should be required in order for the teens to utilize that tool, or any other means of use they feel it should be associated with.

  2. If you were born into a noisy, techno-centered world, how do you recognize a quiet focused, extended thought?

  3. Alan Coady says:

    I’d be interested to find out more about the issue as related to adults. As worrying as it might be that our future depends on people possibly distracting themselves from quality learning, the same is true of those currently running things.

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