Archive for February, 2010

‘FRONTLINE: digital_nation’ examines social impact of technology on our kids

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I watched this over the past weekend. (I love Frontline btw – they have some really great documentaries).

Frontline Digital_Nation

http://video.pbs.org/video/1402987791/

What was most eye-opening about this piece, besides how swanky 2nd Life’s offices are, is how our various technologies that are supposed to make our lives easier and more connected with each other seem to be affecting the way our kids are learning and retain knowledge. The piece about the MIT students writing their papers one paragraph at a time for example was a bit alarming. We’ve made it so easy to get distracted by all the email, Twittering, and social networking… and these younger generations are fully engulfed by it. Even the multi-tasking that was talked about in the piece, and how all these kids claim that it’s not a problem, and that they’re more efficient. I multi task every day, at least in front of my laptop here. Quite frankly, it’s hard to do. Now maybe that’s because it’s something that I’ve had to learn over the years – unlike these kids who it’s sort of automatically engrained in, but there are things I’ve read over the past couple of years that are starting to say that people would be much better off if they focused on one thing at a time.

“My colleagues in the psychology department drew my attention to some interesting research, which proves that Buddhists and couch potatoes were right all along – the world would be a better place if everyone tried to do just one thing at a time. In a society that encourages more and more multitasking, researchers at Stanford University had assumed that people who do a lot of multitasking would be better at it. “But they’re not. They’re worse. They’re much worse,” said Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford. “They couldn’t ignore stuff that doesn’t matter. They love stuff that doesn’t matter,” he said.”
– from http://openingtime.blogspot.com/2009/09/effectiveness-of-multi-tasking.html

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2009/august24/multitask-research-study-082409.html

My 3yr old daughter already knows what an iPod is… and she automatically assumes that every phone she picks up can also take pictures. I wouldn’t be surprised if my older daughter comes home from the 1st grade next year and says her class has its own social network on Ning. All these things are great… don’t get me wrong… but as a Dad, I think we just have to be more conscious of how they’re affecting the way our children learn and develop.

Digging out the Avalanche from all this white stuff

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010