After reading Brain Rules by John Medina and many other articles I am convinced that students do not multitask, but with every switch back and forth lose some time and content while they refocus. But laptops are not the problem!! They just show you what is already happening in student's brains that you could not see. I just listened to a very interesting lecture by John Merrow who has been covering Education for a long time (you may have seen one of his reports on NPR). He said that it has been documented that in any audience 8% of the people listen to the whole lecture, 14% fade in and out thinking of other things and then putting attention on the lecturer and a whopping 78% are thinking about something else altogether all or most of the time. The difference is that with a laptop you have evidence and something to blame it on.
The one sentence that made clear sense to me was at the end. It quoted one professor saying:
ultimately, it is a professor's job to hold the class's attention.
"If students don't want to pay attention, the laptop is the least
of your problems," he said.
Who is teaching the kids to focus? Who is designing University instruction that
takes into account the fact that the mind tends to roam?
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