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I Said, ‘Not While You Study!

I Said, ‘Not While You Study!’: “There’s some impressive new scientific research on your side when you tell your kids they can’t possibly do their homework with the TV blaring, instant messenger crawling or MP3 player pumping.”
I’m a “moderate multi-tasker” (skype, IM, read email, listen to music). When I deliver online presentations, this is important (i.e. present, follow comments in text boxes, reply, advance slides, etc.). But this approach has a downside for learning. Many “experts” have told us that kids are multi-taskers…and we generally have assumed that’s a good thing (or just a part of who they are based on the technology they have access to). Over the last few years, I’ve discovered that my greatest challenge is not managing multiple sources of information/distractions, but to focus on the items that are important. Running after “shiny things” seems quite natural for children (and for me – take that for whatever it’s worth!). To achieve a particular outcome requires managing distractions, not yielding to them. For youth, however, the distractions are their focus. They want to absorb – experience – as much as they can. When it comes to learning, that mindset (based on emerging research) may need to be moderated.