Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Are You Too Attached to Technology?

I just came across a recent (6/6/2010) New York Times article entitled “Your Brain on Computers: Attached to Technology and Paying a Price” written by Matt Richtel.

The article looks into our ability to focus when multitasking and the basic conclusion is that we really can't focus intensely on one thing when we have other things going on simultaneously, i.e. , doing homework while listening to music, texting your friends, and chatting on Facebook.

The article, which I recommend that you read, details the lives of a family from Oklahoma and their stuggles between an "online" life and having time for family.

The article also includes two "tests" that determine your level of attention and your ability to focus.

The first assessment is called “Test Your Focus” and you have to determine whether the red rectangles, which are mixed in with blue rectangles, have rotated. The second assessment is called “Test How Fast You Juggle” and you are presented with a number and a letter and have to determine whether there are vowels or consonants and even or odd numbers. (The juggling is information, not objects). Both of these tests sound simple, but they aren't (at least not for me). They do a good job of demonstrating that our brain really does try to focus acutely on a single task.

Would the article and the tests make good examples for your students?  J.T.

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