Friday, May 1, 2009

Multi Tasking at School

There was much debate about the class with the guest speaker, Silvia Tolisano who introduced the Tiny Chat to our group. The discussion was again brought up in the lunchroom in the high school with several Eng/Hum/Sci teachers.

The teachers at the table had a variety of comfort levels with using tech. Most of them I would say were avid tech users and most qualified as early adapters.

Some of the teachers could see how Tiny chat "could" be used in the class, but not one could say whether Tiny chat "should" be used in their class.

The bigger discussion about distractions and multi-tasking came up. Some good points were made on both sides of the argument:

Pro Tiny Chat:
Kids are wired differently than we are.
Kids have shorter attention spans anyway, so why not allow productive “back room” chat/note taking.

Con Tiny Chat:
Multi-taking is a high order skill that can only be preformed successfully by mature thinkers and experienced people.
Adult learners at ISB were not allowed to take their laptops into the Thai Teaching Certification course because it inevitably leads to off topic behavior.

Further investigation into this compelling debate revealed a body of research done on multi-tasking and learning. The study showed MRI evidence that memory, performance and comprehension are all negatively impacted by dividing attention.

Teachers have always scorned students for passing notes in class. Why should the digital note be treated any differently?

Surely there are enough opportunities for chat rooms, pop ups, and other distractions after the bell rings.

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