See if you can read through this entire blog post without being distracted by e-mails, hyperlinks, instant messengers, or the phone in your pocket.
I bet you can pretty easily, if you choose to.
I also know most of the Stew readers are adults, many of whom raise similar questions of how the digital world is changing how attentive we are, how we consume and produce information, and how we communicate with others. I also believe that many in the blogging community choose to focus their attention on longer–by digital age standards, at least–texts and essays.
On the other hand, for students who have grown up in the digital world, capturing attention is a struggle, a currency, something us teachers and other adults can no longer take for granted. This thoughtful piece by Principal Cale Birk addresses how the onus is on presenters and teachers to create more engaging lessons and presentations so the audience doesn’t feel the pull to check e-mail or Fantasy Football rosters. Birk concludes, “Collectively, we have an obligation to engage those that we are teaching or working with. To simply blame technology for students being ‘more distracted’ is both limp and counterproductive. And by adopting this mindset, we will never succeed in getting the ‘full attention’ of anyone.” I mostly agree with Birk and, as a teacher, I’m constantly trying to capture the currency of attention using a variety of techniques and activities.
However, I don’t believe Birk gives enough credit to how little self-control many students have when it comes to technology. He writes, “We need to stop judging ‘young people’ and their being distracted, having short attention spans, or whatever other denigrating phraseology we can come up with about them being less engaged in classrooms across North America.” I will judge students, but it’s also clear we need to teach meta-cognition to young people–heck, even adults–the Pavlovian response many of us have regarding digital distractions.
Almost the whole time in class all i think about is “oh i wonder if he texted me back”. So I can honestly say it does get in the way of learning.
When i do have my phone on while im studying i constantly go on the internet or talk to my friends and then I end up forgetting what I studied because im more focused on my phone.
Technology has many uses when dealing with education. It is true that it can be distracting for some, but it offers so many resources at our finger tips.
I definitely think technology has shortened my attention span. When I am at home doing homework I constantly check my phone, Facebook, etc. On top of that when I come across a tough problem in Math I can easily Google it. I most likely spend hours in front of electronics every day. I catch myself day dreaming at school, thinking of what I am going to do on the internet when I get home.
Digital technology definitely does shorten my attention span because I get distracted with the web and texting. If I have work on the computer, I watch some types of shows while doing my work on the Internet. I waste more time texting my friends then doing my schoolwork.
I can honestly say that most technology is a distraction to me. I’m constantly on my computer, iPod, and phone. Saying that, I know that there is a time and place to use technology, and that’s most certainly not in class or when I’m doing my homework.
Technology can be very distracting when it is put in front of you as much as it is today. When you have smartphones and computers and all of these other types of fancy gadgets, it makes you forget about the original material you were taught in class. Technology can shorten kids attention span because they go from a quick-easy way on the internet to a long, descriptive class that involves more detail.
I think technology can be very distracting in a classroom. But if teachers don’t make their classes interesting, students will find another way to get distracted. For me my cellphone is very distracting if I feel it vibrate I immediately have to check who it is.
This is hardly a scientific study, but the majority of students who left comments admitted they are distracted and even addicted to their gadgets. Yes, bored audiences and classrooms have always doodled, daydreamed, and passed notes. But now it’s just so easy to disengage, with thousands of games, messages, and websites to address. Do you worry about being disrespectful during meetings or presentations if you pull out your phone? What does it take to fully engage you in the classroom or during a presentation? Should we care, as a culture, about changing norms relating to attention? Is it silly to worry about how today’s youth, and many adults, are incessantly connected and distracted?