Monday, January 3, 2011

10 of my 15 minutes?

Perhaps you saw a bit about a little activity I ran in my 8th grade class. The headline claimed I proved that listening to music lowers student test scores. This headline actually says more about newspapers and how they construct and frame things than it does about my activity.

I did nothing of the sort. All I wanted to do was get my 14-year-olds to wonder whether their electronic gadgets might have a deleterious effect on their ability to pay attention. The overstated headline encouraged many--in the comment section--to chafe and even lambaste me (while plenty also congratulated me).

It shouldn't take overelaborate studies to know that humans' attention resources are limited and easily depleted by too much going on around us. Some are better than others, but plenty of studies do show that almost all of us aren't nearly as good as we think we are at all multi-tasking.

Take a not too terribly demanding 2-task test to see. To this, I added some music, then pop-ups, then a video. All things (not to mention texting) that a lot of teenagers imbibe while doing almost anything else, including homework.

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