My job requires quite a bit of multitasking. So I understand that the ability to juggle many tasks is a valuable skill in today’s economy.
But watching the way some teenagers do their homework, or just how they interact with adults and each other, makes me wonder if all this multitasking (though necessary in the workplace) has a dark underside, a devolution of their thinking skills that position them well to know a little about a lot, but not much in any great depth.
Will we soon be living in the land of superficial thinkers? Or will multitasking evolve to suit more in-depth thinking?
I was pleased to see that the Washington Post tackled this issue in a front page story this week titled “Teens Can Multitask, But What Are Costs?” In the story, cognitive researchers say the jury is still out on the effects of multitasking on the development of the teenage mind. But some of the researchers interviewed for the story expressed significant concerns.
Educators should keep a close watch on this research, because it could have implications for teaching and learning.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.