Tech Salad

With Crunchy Bits and Bytes

Month: June 2008

EdTech Advocacy

I am sitting at the Blogger’s Cafe at the convention center in San Antonio listening to the opening keynote. What can I do to bring more technology to Goochland schools? Is this question for me, or for all our teachers? Don’t we all want more? We already do a lot with technology. Now we need to showcase it so parents, local leaders, and legislators can see the power of the tools we have. Our new blogs will make this VERY easy.

Remember to visit the wiki and sign up for training on how to create and maintain your new blog.

Attention, Inattention, Maturity, and IQ

I just finished reading (really reading and not skimming) an article titled The Myth of Multitasking By Christine Rosen. Last week everyone was talking about the effects of reading online. This article shows that reading is but one small part of the shift in the way we live, and many people don’t think the change is for the best.

Even as I read the article, I was interrupting myself every other paragraph to open a new tab and search for articles, books, and interviews mentioned.

How would my day as an ITRT go if I were to avoid multitasking? I am not sure. Mine is a “modern” job that, if advertised on something like Monster would probably include multitasking as a required “skill” as mentioned in the article. On busy days, I move around the building helping teachers while replying to multiple chats and emails, in essence, heavily multitasking. Between iChat, Mail, Twitterrific, and teachers stopping by my room, I seldom have more than ten uninterrupted minutes to focus on any one particular task. Were I to turn off any of those, I fear I would not be able to provide good customer care to the teachers, or I’d miss something worth knowing.

However, the article cites research  by psychologist Russell Poldrack showing that…

Even if you learn while multitasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialized, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily.” His research demonstrates that people use different areas of the brain for learning and storing new information when they are distracted: brain scans of people who are distracted or multitasking show activity in the striatum, a region of the brain involved in learning new skills; brain scans of people who are not distracted show activity in the hippocampus, a region involved in storing and recalling information

And even more distressing…

In 2005, the BBC reported on a research study, funded by Hewlett-Packard and conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, that found, “Workers distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.”

Beyond my own job, this article had abundant food for thought. There are scientists who predict our brains will adapt to this environment and we’ll learn to cope with “response selection bottleneck”. However, there is no proof and other scientists see today’s youth as guinea pigs who may (but may not) be able to continue to learn and function in this hyper-interrupted world.

The implications for education go beyond reading, and cutting out the distractions is not an option. Maybe the key does lie in promoting “acquired inattention” so students will be able to learn in the “interstices of their mind-wandering.”

Kid Friendly?

Today I got my Big Deal Book newsletter and in it I found this:

RedZee is a free kid-friendly Web browser intended to assure parents of early readers that their little one’s search for, say, a unicorn image brings up only G-rated sites. Results are presented like a fan with images of each screen, so children can scroll through and click on the site that offers the closest match.

Sounded great. Except, it is not a web browser but a search engine. Still, the site looks very cute with the red animated zebra. I gave it a try and searched for my daughter’s latest craze, Shakira.

The results do come up in a nice-looking fan. However, does anyone think finding Shakira in her underwear is G-rated?

© 2019 Tech Salad

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑