Thursday, September 12, 2013

College Students: Media-Savvy Multitaskers or Scatterbrained Procrastinators?

Current research on digital multi-tasking among college students provides conflicting results about the effects that constant attention to digital devices has on their cognitive abilities. A 2009 study by Ophir, Nass, and Wegner compared “heavy media multitaskers” with others who relied on multitasking less frequently.  The study concluded that heavy multitaskers were less successful at filtering distractions and switching between tasks.  However, a 2013 study by Alzahabi and Becker suggests the opposite.  This research raises important questions about how we engage our students in the kind of work we typically assign - work that requires sustained focus and attention.  Should students be working to adapt to the academy or should the academy adapt to them?

 Here’s a link to a story about these studies.

Abstract of the Ophir, Nass, and Wegnerstudy.

Abstract of the Alzahabi & Becker study.

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