Multitasking and Time Management
Media Multitasking: An Important Skill or a Damaging Habit?
Technology pulling our focus away from a task is not only a problem for kids, but for adults as well.
Some parents feel that kids would benefit from working around digital disruptions, since they will need this skill their entire lives. On the other hand we don't want kids to develop enduring bad habits in which their learning and school work will suffer.
The challenge in today's society is how can we manage technology's disruptive potential.
What Does the Research Say?
Many people seem to overestimate their ability to be able to multitask, such as a student who believes that he can text and listen to a lecture simultaneously, actually cannot, according to brain expert Annie Murphy Paul, author of "The Brilliant Blog". Paul claims that multitasking while doing academic work is very common among young people, but leads to spottier, shallower, and less flexible learning.
A study was conducted by Larry Rosen, a professor at California State University-Dominguez Hills, in which 263 students were observed in their normal study environments-bedroom, library, and den. These students were told to work on school work for 15 minutes, and even though the students knew they were being watched, they were unable to resist texting or using social media. The "on-task" behavior started to decline at the 2 minute mark, and only 65 % of time was used focusing on school work.
When students split their time between digital distractions and school assignments, it inevitably takes the assignment longer to be completed. All this switching between tasks wears out the brain, makes learners tired, and less competent. Furthermore, several studies have shown the information learned while partially distracted is often quickly forgotten, and the learning is tragically shallow.
Dangers of Multitasking on the Brain
Multitaskers reliance on rote memory would be all well and good if you want a job on an assembly line, however, if you want a well-paying job that involves high level thinking, you better be able to exercise the hippocampus.
So What About Music?
There is a variation of how music influences processing and performance, and parents need to let their child experiment with different conditions ( music, no music, music without lyrics,) that may help him or her learn more about their own personal style.