I really enjoyed the article about teenagers and cognitive multi-tasking that Elizabeth posted. While I do believe that, in general, the cons outweigh the pros of this multi-tasking, I also think that it depends on what kind of a learner you are. I do my best work when I am at the library or in a quiet corner on the patio of my apartment building. If I attempt to do work in my apartment I find myself easily distracted by the television or by my computer. My sister Lizzie is an editor and she does her best work in her living room with the TV on in the background. Lizzie and I have different learning/working styles. We both took tests while we were in grammar school to find out what kind of learners we were. I was a linguistic learner while Lizzie was an aural learner, which explains why I like to be in a quiet place where I can concentrate completely on what I am reading or writing and why Lizzie prefers to have background noise while she is working.
That being said, I think that children in today’s society are almost forced to be multi-taskers, regardless of what their learning style may be. Adolescents seem to have a lot more going on in their lives these days. It seems that the norm for fourteen year olds is having their very own cell phone and having scheduled activities nearly all day long. Children today have many more forms of media available to them and they seem to be using all these forms simultaneously. The article discussed adolescents who were studying while instant messaging and downloading songs on iTunes. I have to wonder if children today shorten their attention spans by using these different forms of media simultaneously. It seems almost as though adolescents are not capable of focusing on thing at a time, they would rather have a lot going on around them.
I think the new rule at John’s school is interesting. I wonder if it will really be enforced? If it is enforced it would be very interesting to see whether the children did better while just focusing on their schoolwork or whether they have become so adept at multiplicity that they actually do better while they are online, watching TV, etc. and doing homework at the same time.