Last week I heard an interesting story on NPR. I only caught part of it, but they were interviewing a high school student who was doing homework on his computer. He was describing his monitor. He had Microsoft Word open and was typing a paper. Also on his screen was an open internet window for surfing the web, an instant message window where he was talking to a classmate, and a chat room where some other classmates were having a discussion. He was not in an on-line class…he was simply doing homework. So the discussion was surrounding a student’s ability to concentrate with all of the other stimuli vying for his attention. It got me thinking about the way children and adults learn these days. It seems increasingly difficult to concentrate. There is always something ringing, buzzing, or popping up. As for children — are they having a more difficult time doing their school work now with all the interuptions or are they learning how to adapt in an increasingly chaotic world?
My first reaction is to think what a bad homework environment. Then I thought…well, if this is the world he is growing up in is it better that he learn how to multitask now. And is it difficult for parents to set a good example for concentrating when their Blackberry keeps buzzing throughout helping their child with homework?