I read an interesting article in a blog by Jonathan Rees at Vitae –It’s Not You, It’s Them, I Told Myself
The author spoke about his early experiences teaching abroad and increasing cell phone use occurring during class. Cell phones and other web enabled devices eventually made their way to the States. The distractions in the classroom resulted in his university banning cell phones and complaining about students disappearing attention spans. He also notes that the use of cell phones is really everywhere not just schools. People get bored in meetings and sneak out their phone to take a peek. He notes that a technology minded instructor will tell you that the cell phone, tablet etc. can be as much of an opportunity as it can be a distraction. He has since encouraged their use in classes where the nature of the material makes the use of cellphones beneficial. He also expresses the concern that if a student cannot pay attention for an hour class they ultimately will be at a disadvantage when they enter the workforce.
In one of my classes we have been discussing the iGeneration. Some studies speak to this generations great ability to multi-task and still accomplish the things they need to do. Students from this generation say it is hard for them to uni-task The jury is still out on this as far as my thoughts are concerned. I fear that this younger generation will suffer for not being held accountable for paying attention. Yet I think technology can be used to make course work more interesting.
What are your thoughts?