Can you get my attention?

Is the constant use of technology shortening the attention span of students?  Many teachers feel it is according to the results of two surveys who’s results have recently been published.  The researchers themselves have noted that the findings do have an obvious amount of subjectivity but still accurately reflect the feelings of the teachers surveyed.  The two surveys were conducted by Pew Internet Project and Common Sense Media.  The results suggest that the overwhelmimg use of media, computers and mobile devices adversely affects a student’s ability to focus.  The majority of teachers surveyed believe that the ability to quickly retrieve information and resolve queries makes it difficult for them to maintain a student’s attention during classroom instruction without performing some animated routine.

This appears to be a valid observation and concern for many teachers.  The problem is that society’s adoption of technology in every arena precludes a student from not engaging it.  Technology has deeply integrated itself into everything that we do in life.  To expect a student or a parent or anyone else for that matter, to not have altered learning and behavioral techniques and habits as a result is an exercise in frustration and futility.  Instead, we all must embrace the paradigm shift and leverage its advantages.  When was the last time you, yes YOU…the person reading this, pulled out an encyclopedia to do research or the yellow pages to find the number to the Italian restaurant across town?  We have all been conditioned to use the technology that is available to us to complete tasks more quickly and efficiently.  It would be naive to expect any more, or less, of students.  What we have to do in the classroom, just as every other industry has figured out, is use technology as a vehicle to be more effective engaging students and indulging their preferred learning style. I hope I got your attention.


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