Sunday, February 14, 2010

Media Multitasking and Children's Learning and Development

Media multitasking is commonplace among the increasing number of children using technology, and as the results of a recent report we covered clearly demonstrated, this activity needs a lot more attention than it is presently being given:
"the study identified the media-usage average time of 7 hours and 38 minutes. But here's the amazing part of the 'media usage' stat, because many of these respondents often multi-task by using more than one type of technology at a time (e.g. texting while watching TV), the study found they actually manage to pack 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into the 7 and a half hours - Generation M2"
What we really need to get a better understanding of is how media multitasking affects their learning and development, and their ability to think and to relate to other people.

Last summer at Stanford University - July 15, 2009 - scholars from the neurosciences, child development, cognitive science, communication, and education fields, all with an interest in the emerging field of multitasking, assembled for a one-day seminar on media multitasking and its impact on children’s learning and development. The recently released report on the findings of this seminar, The Impacts Media Multitasking on Children's Learning and Development: Report from a Research Seminar published by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, outlines the main issues and ideas which emerged from this seminar.

There were five themes which emerged form this one-day seminar:

  1. Clearer definitions and a common vocabulary in the emerging, multidisciplinary field of multitasking...

  2. Don't allow moral panic regarding the social issues of multitasking to cloud the positives of this technology and activity...

  3. Media multitasking is changing childhood and changing the workplace...

  4. New tools and research methodologies must be developed to study this emerging field...

  5. A long-term research agenda must be pursued...

This timely discussion will hopefully add to the growing interest in this emerging field and help generate some long-term research in the field of multitasking. And this research will be especially pertinent to teachers, administrators, and those in the education world - in light of the increasing role of technology and Web 2.0 in teaching and students' lives, understanding the impact of media multitasking is essential.

For further reading, here are a few more items on media multitasking: