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Constant Technology Use May Hamper Kids' Ability To Learn

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the tell-me-again-in-30-seconds dept.

Education 163

hessian writes "Scholars who study the role of media in society say no long-term studies have been done that adequately show how and if student attention span has changed because of the use of digital technology. But there is mounting indirect evidence that constant use of technology can affect behavior, particularly in developing brains, because of heavy stimulation and rapid shifts in attention."

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163 comments

paywalled (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867609)

awesome link.

Re:paywalled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867697)

They want you to be patient, When you get together some extra money to pay for entry, you can read the article.

Re:paywalled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868641)

> They want you to be patient, When you get together some extra money to pay for entry, you can read the article.

Seems fair. And since one has to wait for the money to be gathered, why not read something meanwhile... like, say, the entire internet?

And people wonder why newspapers are going the way of the dodo... and you know what? Papers have always been on the cheap side -- where I live, books have always been expensive, but a small 4 year old kid could learn to read by watching his father with the newspaper.

Now they think hiding content is a great idea. Yeah, ask users to register, it will help a lot.

MIT found something different (5, Interesting)

hawks5999 (588198) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867649)

I found something completely different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868037)

My aunt's current husband's mother's nephew's college roommate's sister's friend is Amish is she's a genius.

So, that proves everyone wrong.

Re:MIT found something different (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868185)

No, it says the same thing.

Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day

The study was looking at student attention spans and brain development, not specifically if those changes hamper learning (right from the summary, ignoring the trolling /. headline). Using all those different apps means they're switching attention that much more often and they only have ONE piece of technology. Constant technology use includes being surrounded by TV, ads designed to grab your attention, cell phones with direct connections to constantly changing media feeds (you don't want to miss anything), laptops, tablets, eBook readers, hand held games, warning systems, etc...

Oh and by running that experiment, MIT is destroying that tribe's culture and they plan to mess with more just to see what happens. Research/Trying to play god like that should be outlawed.

Re:MIT found something different (2)

Pseudonym (62607) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868501)

If we have leaned nothing else from seven seasons of TNG and seven seasons of Voyager, it's that the Prime Directive never makes it clear what course of action is correct.

Re:MIT found something different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41869421)

Yes it does. Stay the fuck out. Period. It's pretty simple. You engineer and developer folks seem to think you're the smartest people alive. How can you not figure that out?

Re:MIT found something different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41870015)

Leave people the fuck alone and let them determine their own course of development. That's pretty fucking clear.

Re:MIT found something different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41871017)

how about you let them choose if they want to be interfered with or not rather than forcing people to stay away from them? If they didnt like the tablets they wouldnt use them

Re:MIT found something different (4, Insightful)

Riceballsan (816702) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868507)

"Oh and by running that experiment, MIT is destroying that tribe's culture and they plan to mess with more just to see what happens. Research/Trying to play god like that should be outlawed."

Now I'm not an expert on geography, but I'm pretty certain most Ethiopians aren't ileterate due to choice or even religious reasons, it's because Ethiopia is a poor country where success is often just living to 20 without starving to death. As far as I know MIT didn't force the laptops into the villiage, or teach the kids to hide them from their parents (which IMO I still wouldn't oppose, hiding information from children to me for fear of compromised "Culture" or "Religion", is no different than binding a childs legs and throwing him in a wheelchair, which would be considered child abuse in most countries). Were all the scientists of america and europe's past destroying our culture. Did the work of Franklin, Telsa and Eddison ruin the culture of the world by making us more civilized. I mean it could be said that our old culture gathered around fires and candles, and those guys ruined it for us!

Re:MIT found something different (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868601)

Oh and by running that experiment, MIT is destroying that tribe's culture and they plan to mess with more just to see what happens. Research/Trying to play god like that should be outlawed.

Why? Because a culture of illiterate people, unable to produce, never mind compete, in the modern world is morally superior to a literate, educated culture?

Either way we are choosing to "play god". Withholding technology from these people is just as much of a choice as providing it. Just because it's the default position doesn't make it the more correct one.

Re:MIT found something different (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869841)

" Constant technology use includes being surrounded by TV, ads designed to grab your attention, cell phones with direct connections to constantly changing media feeds (you don't want to miss anything), laptops, tablets, eBook readers, hand held games, warning systems, etc..."

I have read about study after study purporting that these devices change our brains and maybe even personalities, I haven't seen one -- not a single one -- demonstrating that those "changes" are still present when the technology is not. Nor have I seen any evidence -- even a little -- that these claimed "changes", even if retained, are harmful. The people claiming these things are strong on implication, but pretty short on evidence.

Re:MIT found something different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41870461)

They're actually strong on evidence, it's the press office that's adding the implication. They add sensation otherwise people don't tend to read the fucking articles.

Re: those "changes" are still present (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about a year and a half ago | (#41870663)

To use that word everyone loved in the 1990's, it's a Paradigm Shift. The simplest example is the raw internet - once you grok that the internet is "always on" (service glitches aside), your entire life changes forever. You can do or not-do something on the internet, but it's now a choice that needs to be made every hour of the day forever. Try reading old literature sometime, with the perspective of looking for when characters were really rather bored with nothing to do - "kick the can" for 3 hours and then dinner - really?! Or the farmers sitting around the parlor when Ma didn't feel like playing the piano, so they all just sat there kinda listless. Eew.

I got a glimpse of all those changes when my power went out for Hurricane Sandy (and I was only on the edge of it!). I only managed to sit in the dark for an hour before I reached for my CD player, stash of AA batteries, flashlight, and a book. In the modern world, we don't just burn multiple hours doing nothing anymore.

Re: those "changes" are still present (1)

Velex (120469) | about a year and a half ago | (#41871371)

In the modern world, we don't just burn multiple hours doing nothing anymore.

Sure we do. It's called Slashdot.

Re:MIT found something different (2)

Riceballsan (816702) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868459)

I believe the constant is a factor in this. While I'm no expert on solar based tablets, I have a feeling that their off time is larger then their on time, as well we are talking 1. systems loaded with pretty much all educational software, no wifi etc... in a location in which there are absolutely no teachers or other means tech > nothing, while systems with non-educational software, endless instant gratification games etc... doing so can cause your attention span to be shorter, when dealing with teachers and methods of learning that may be superior to a system with educational games. I see no conflict in the 2 articles at all, the tablets were never claimed to be superior to a real teacher, and in the first world the biggest factor is they distract from teachers (Of which the Etheopian's in the experience didn't have access to anyway).

Re:MIT found something different (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869555)

When I was young, Congress was trying to decide if AC/DC's rock music and games of Dungeons and Dragons were causing all us youth to kill each other. Somehow I survived all the death and devastation - I have no idea how.

Scary. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867651)

This is almost as bad as rock & roll music.

Re:Scary. (3, Insightful)

noobermin (1950642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867737)

I was just going to say that. From TFA:

“What we’re labeling as ‘distraction,’ some see as a failure of adults to see how these kids process information,” Ms. Purcell said. “They’re not saying distraction is good but that the label of ‘distraction’ is a judgment of this generation.”

also

The surveys include some findings that appear contradictory. In the Common Sense report, for instance, some teachers said that even as they saw attention spans wane, students were improving in subjects like math, science and reading.

I don't usually bag on teachers, but may be this is a sign that your methods are becoming--shock--outdated?

Re:Scary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868489)

I don't usually bag on teachers, but may be this is a sign that your methods are becoming--shock--outdated?

I guess kids these days can't listen to a teacher droning on about some crap when the teacher should be engaging the students.

Re:Scary. (2)

Gorobei (127755) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868813)

I was just going to say that. From TFA:

“What we’re labeling as ‘distraction,’ some see as a failure of adults to see how these kids process information,” Ms. Purcell said. “They’re not saying distraction is good but that the label of ‘distraction’ is a judgment of this generation.”

also

The surveys include some findings that appear contradictory. In the Common Sense report, for instance, some teachers said that even as they saw attention spans wane, students were improving in subjects like math, science and reading.

I don't usually bag on teachers, but may be this is a sign that your methods are becoming--shock--outdated?

Traditional school is was pretty horrible in my mind. Most kids were lost or bored in math and science. Geography, history, etc, were just fact cramming: a free grade for those who could only learn by rote, pointless data for others. God forbid you picked a promising, but inappropriate book from the library: you were stuck with it for an hour or a day. Talk about a low information environment.

Bring on the internet, I say. It can't be any worse that the old system. It's already revolutionized work (I used to see 10+ books per cube, now 1 is about the most.) Time to do it for school.

Re:Scary. (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868863)

Geography, history, etc, were just fact cramming

I actually noticed the same thing with math, and oftentimes, even science. Just memorize these equations and look for the patterns I showed you to figure out when you should used them on the test! Oh, and it's okay to forget them after that; your math teacher next year will have you memorize them again...

Re:Scary. (2)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year and a half ago | (#41870245)

And this is a completely separate and much more important problem -- students do not understand the material, and have nothing but superficial similarities to guide them in application of those thoughtlessly memorized methods. They have fake knowledge that is applied in cargo-cult fashion, and provides nothing for future learning or improvements.

Re:Scary. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868407)

This is almost as bad as rock & roll music.

It's as bad as sock-hops, Elvis Presley's dancing, VCR's, Atari games, color television, and carbonated sodas - each of which nearly "destroyed America's youth" at some point in the past 70 years.

Re:Scary. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868965)

This is almost as bad as rock & roll music.

It's as bad as sock-hops, Elvis Presley's dancing, VCR's, Atari games, color television, and carbonated sodas - each of which nearly "destroyed America's youth" at some point in the past 70 years.

But, of course, not quite as bad as Dungeons and Dragons and books about Hobbits. NOTHING could be THAT dangerous to America's youth.

behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867655)

while out?

seems to be generational but my younger friends (20's) are always checking their phones, even while I'm talking to them at dinner or a social event!

what the hell. since when was that good manners?

since never. but few seem to care.

additionally, look at the younger crowd as they walk on the public streets. if there isn't a pair of white wires coming out of their ears and their stand perma-pointed downward, then they are the odd one out.

this is directly related to attention span and constantly 'needing' to be connected.

time will tell, but I don't think this is a foward step.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867713)

I wonder if Google Glasses type technology will help.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867759)

So the younger generation has a problem because they choose being entertained over not being entertained?
Interesting logic

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867855)

Constantly checking a phone when in the presence of company not only shows impatience and addiction, but is fucking rude. It's like telling everybody in your presence that they're boring and not worth listening to.

As somebody a little older than the rest of the shithead kids he's in college with, I see it all the time - grown-ass young adults rocking back and forth in their seats, fidgeting, totally unfit for social interaction. If those kids were in grade school when I was, they would have been labeled retarded and put in a special classroom with padded walls. Young punk kids, in their faggotty androgynous skinny jeans, who now get medals just for showing up to the event, have been proven hopeless at courtship due to their incessant masturbating to a grossly cartoonish idea of what real women should look like.

Real life is going to eat you fuckers alive, and I'm gonna point and laugh at each and every one of you.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867953)

...grown-ass young adults rocking back and forth in their seats, fidgeting, totally unfit for social interaction.

That's from all the Prozac, Vicodin, and other meds their parents have been feeding them all their lives... Mother's little helper.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867957)

It sounds like you are boring and not worth listening to. Why should anyone listen to you make prejudiced comments against their age group instead of playing Angry Birds?

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869325)

because its not really prejudice at all when there's some truth in the 'prejudicial' statement. It's just that the term is misused by people as a passive aggressive label to deflate legitimacy of truth they don't like. A lot of kids today ARE androgynistic and flighty. They have no spine and no balls. They don't stand up for themselves because their parents and society have taught them that the opposite is what's acceptable. Not hurting feelings is more important than understanding/acting on the truth of a matter. Neurotically tracking group consensus (with a cellphone or anything else really) so that one can be sure he is in compliance is not a good example of a trait that will help survival of this society in the coming decades..

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868989)

Constantly checking a phone when in the presence of company not only shows impatience and addiction, but is fucking rude. It's like telling everybody in your presence that they're boring and not worth listening to.

As somebody a little older than the rest of the shithead kids he's in college with, I see it all the time - grown-ass young adults rocking back and forth in their seats, fidgeting, totally unfit for social interaction. If those kids were in grade school when I was, they would have been labeled retarded and put in a special classroom with padded walls. Young punk kids, in their faggotty androgynous skinny jeans, who now get medals just for showing up to the event, have been proven hopeless at courtship due to their incessant masturbating to a grossly cartoonish idea of what real women should look like.

Real life is going to eat you fuckers alive, and I'm gonna point and laugh at each and every one of you.

-- Ethanol-fueled

I tried to read your whole rant, but honestly it was so boring I kept messing with my coolio Samsung Android phone instead. It's probably because I'm only in my 40's and haven't learned to control my attention yet - maybe when I hit my 50's.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869337)

Maybe you haven't.. It's entirely possible, actually. This trend started with your/our generation.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#41870349)

I don't know. It seems to me that when I was a child in the 70's, every single time the telephone rang, an adult in the house would answer it, even if they had guests. They seemed unable to disconnect themselves even for a few hours.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868061)

No, the problem is the choice of entertainment.

Walking down the street? Observe the nature of the environment around you, instead. The trees have turned a beautiful color right now. Maybe you'll get a glimpse of an eagle flying by. You'll never know what is truly out there in the REAL world, if you're constantly focused on "being entertained" by some electronic device.

Being a software engineer with many years working on mobile devices, it was my job to create these forms of entertainment... I was guilty of this too. I solved it by trying to always have a camera in my hand. Yeah, it is still an electronic device, but the focus of the entertainment because the world around me, and to become a content producer instead of content user.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (2)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868563)

Honestly the problem is not taking time out to "smell the roses". No, you don't smell flowers necessarily, but if you don't just sit or take a walk or a bike ride and think, you don't work out issues you may be having. You won't get that spark of inspiration from watching a bird fly or a swarm of bees or just working out something in your head.

[John]

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868961)

You bet it will be a problem when interests not aligned with them impact their 'entertainment' in some way.. of course by then america will be no different than somalia.. Seriously, this 'need' to be 'connected' is just a massive case of insecurity brought on by a society that increasingly does not tolerate individual empowerment and achievement.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (5, Insightful)

noobermin (1950642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867763)

How can these kids stand that rock n' roll music? Kids these days.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869005)

They're so much less mature than their grandparents' generation - who were blowing up outhouses with sticks of dynamite and drag racing their '57 Chevy's instead.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

niko9 (315647) | about a year and a half ago | (#41870093)

You comparing the love of music to playing with an appliance? Sheesh.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867819)

Just tell them to keep off your lawn.

Seriously though, manners are out of fashion. And they'll continue to be out of fashion until Hollywood and the rest of the pop culture crowd becomes irrelevant.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867985)

Mannners are the rules for social interaction. They are a series of rules that for the most part allow easier comunication and cohabitaions within a group. There are however no hard and fast rules, it is a consensus thing. If you are in a group and everybody else has bad manners and nobody else seems to worry it is your problem and not theres.

The real question is will there rules have become normal by the time they have to change enviroment, or will they be able to change over to the next set of rules when they inevitable have to move to the next stage. As long as one of these is true or a combination of both. I'm betting on the combination but with an emphasis on them having to adapt (80:20ish).

There are of course some sets of formal manners that where desighned to do nothing more than disadvantage those who did not know them and could not (due to some resource impediment) learn them. But this is elitist bullshit that has mostly been (thnakfully) lost from most of the world.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (3, Insightful)

aurashift (2037038) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867879)

while out?

seems to be generational but my younger friends (20's) are always checking their phones, even while I'm talking to them at dinner or a social event!

what the hell. since when was that good manners?

since never. but few seem to care.

I "belong" to this generation. If there isn't a pause in the conversation for them to read some inane text saying "whats up gurlll", or I'm actively talking and they pull out their windows phone (just kidding) I'll snap my fingers to get their attention. If they have the attention span of a three year old and do it again they're wasting my time and I'll leave them to their angry birds.

If you're a dick I have no problems being a dick right back. They might not like having their faults pointed out and I don't enjoy doing it but some people deserve it every now and then.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868135)

"I'm actively talking" --- I see the problem there! How about trying to stfu!? Now what would you do if they snapped at you when they got a text message? Because that is what would happen next. You going to get violent? I modded a taser onto my cellphone for just the case! :D Got to protect my data after all!

Paranoid weirdos can't keep nose out of cellphone ffs. You just want to know what it says that's all.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

riondluz (726831) | about a year and a half ago | (#41870425)

and its only annoying bec its not audio,... or wetware 8)

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868095)

fear- not wanting to get stuck dead like the dinosaurs and other dead things that lacked it
manners- distance between you getting stuck

Lets see how personal priorities rationalize this. That person with the phone can legitimize a view of society objectively by use of recording audio/video you fear this because of an injured ego caused by the super imposed ego that represents your inner view of society thereby you lack trust in those you are around yet go so far as to blame them for the untrust when its all within your own head.

The "younger" crowd as your bias prejudice discriminates to them are not there for your amusement nor should wires bring about a primordial fear of veins, intestines and other things coming out of the wrong orifice, but again injured ego this is an effect of the id. It is also referred to as ad hominem to insinuate unrelated evidence to something for personal vendetta.

Their attention is firmly planted on their phone. Yours is planted up your own ass randomly dithering about. So yes I agree attention problem. You can't seem to manipulate others into giving you attention through any self coping methods. Might I suggest trying masturbation?

Forward step is relative to destination and time can be dilated. You have no mysticism control of time this is a control mechanism to control the prediction associated with the anger at your own self such is presented by a volition of guilt deeply rooted in your subconscious.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869393)

If your willful attempt to ignore someone who is telling you something important that affects you, and you choose to ignore it, that's your business. However, when your ignorance affects him negatively, your behavior does become his concern. Grabbing your phone in the MIDDLE of such a conversation is bullshit. You deserve to have it crammed down your throat or up your ass..or at the very least have it smashed on the ground, should the situation be dire enough.. You can't walk around through life (or drive!) with your head down looking at the cellphone while expecting everyone else to get out of your way.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868245)

In my time it was considered good manners to use capital letters on the internet. Just saying.;)

Everyone has something others can complain about... you are no exception...

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868493)

You know what else is bad manners? Starting your sentences with a lower-case letter

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1, Insightful)

jittles (1613415) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868899)

while out?

seems to be generational but my younger friends (20's) are always checking their phones, even while I'm talking to them at dinner or a social event!

what the hell. since when was that good manners?

since never. but few seem to care.

additionally, look at the younger crowd as they walk on the public streets. if there isn't a pair of white wires coming out of their ears and their stand perma-pointed downward, then they are the odd one out.

this is directly related to attention span and constantly 'needing' to be connected.

time will tell, but I don't think this is a foward step.

If I get a text message while talking to you, I'll pull out my phone and check it. Same way that I would check my phone for a call if one came in while we were takling. Is it rude? I don't think so. Will I respond to the message, or even do more than glance at it? Not likely. Would it be good manners for me to be upset if you checked your phone during a social event? What if your wife was calling and it was an emergency? Who the hell am I to judge you? Now if you spent the entire conversation texting and browsing the web, then I would consider that rude.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41869021)

Whether you think so or not, it is rude.

If it is an emergency, you're likely going to be receiving a call and not a text message. Answering calls during a conversation is completely different than constantly checking your texts.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

noobermin (1950642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869083)

May be it's a hint that you're not enganging them...it's kind of like doodling only now you have a smartphone.

And in the same way, doodling while someone's talking is considered rude too, I guess.

Re:behavior, like constantly checking your phone? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869857)

Whether you think so or not, it is rude.

Whether you think so or not, thinking it is rude is rude.

It's apparently true... (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867669)

I lost my attention span with the "Page Not Found".

Maybe a link check is in order?

Re:It's apparently true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867735)

Reload a few times and the page appears...

So the news is... (4, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867705)

there may or may not be a problem. Please update us every hour. Thanks.

Re:So the news is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41870907)

This happens when the populace are trying to follow science new. They want to get shocked or at least or at least disturbed (maybe this is tech effect?).

I used to be smart.... and then, the internets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867709)

I used to be "smart", I could memorize things instantly, had photographic memory, could do mental math very quickly, problem solving was a breeze for me but then I was introduced to a computer. Everything about my brain has been rather -- dulled. I have a hard time to do everything that was previously said, but problem solving still remains my biggest strength even though it's not as good as it once was. I think we should rely on ourselves whenever we can, instead of being impatient and turning on a computer.

Re:I used to be smart.... and then, the internets (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867859)

your computer should already be on. Will you never learn?

Re:I used to be smart.... and then, the internets (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867915)

When I was growing up, there was the internet and I was on it.. as a teen I hacked my way into university VMS systems so that I could use IRC (and back then IRC was a single thing, not just a protocol) and hunt around for files with archie.

When I wanted to apply information, I had to actually learn it, because there wasnt a browser in front of me to go get the information the instant I needed it. These days I can apply information without learning it.... I just need to cut, paste, and reformat it.

Re:I used to be smart.... and then, the internets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868727)

I learned problem solving from working with computers.

Or just actually play with your kids (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867711)

Instead of parking them in front of your TV or your smartphone & Netflix, why not interact with them? Read them a story? Make pictures with glue and macaroni? DO SOMETHING.

Let's make it clear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867715)

...the so called "indirect evidence" is a couple of surveys of teachers. They've perceived a decline in attention span... so basically it's a bunch of anecdotal evidence put together, which makes it a bit more useful, but it's still just a poll.

I'm not skeptic about this and think it's important we look into it, but it's hard to suggest an absolute decline in kids's attention spans. How come they can concentrate for hours while playing a video game?

Not so sure (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867769)

The only time my son seems to focus is when he is in minecraft and that is because he likes minecraft.

Re:Not so sure (1)

greg_barton (5551) | about a year and a half ago | (#41870079)

I could mod you up, but I think posting a "heck yeah" is better.

Heck yeah!

My daughter loves minecraft. I love that she loves minecraft. She's learning to memorize and mentally navigate a 3d environment. She's learning how to deconstruct tasks into subtasks and gather the resources necessary to accomplish those subtasks. She's constructing virtual houses. She just turned five.

So we've been playing minecraft on ipads. The PC version is more complex, and she just discovered that, so now she wants a laptop. I told her that I'd buy her one if she can 1) create a 2000 square meter house in survival mode, using at least five different building materials, and one chest full of tools for each tool making material available. (Wood, stone, iron, gold, and diamond.) She was intimidated a bit at first, and even stopped playing for a while, but today she started back again. She's motivated to accomplish a long and complex task, and the game itself has been a way to teach her how that can be done.

Re:Not so sure (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#41871347)

Just take care as she gets older. Minecraft has a chat feature which will expose the kids to all sorts of language as soon as they visit a public server. I run a private server and initially it was open. My son (ten years old) invited his friends then friends of friends, their older brothers... It turned into Lord Of The Flies at an exponential rate. So now we whitelist it. My son asked me casually if he could whitelist users if they spoke to him on skype first. I said when did you get skype? He says oh I must have installed it at some point. I can see how Gene Leonhardt went through the roof the way he did. This stuff tends to get out of control fast. So I keep my minecraft chat logs (very illuminating. These kids are a lot more mature and open with each other than with their parents.) I have a cron job to backup the world data so if anybody blows stuff up, I can restore the whole world.

cause a rank of 32nd the usa can tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867871)

cause a rank of 32nd the usa can tell us the rest of the world that uses loads a tech and does so "intelligently".
The fact is unless your a lawyer or military guy what other jobs are there in the usa.
suiing everyone and killing them just UGH me around.

YOUR GOVT, and the RICH want YOU to be retards.....WHAT better way to control you.

Constant technology? (3, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867983)

Or medication? I would blame the drug pushing pharmaceutical companies selling promises that the kid will behave if he just takes a pill...

Sounds familiar (2)

wrp103 (583277) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867989)

I remember reading similar concerns when PBS came out with a radical new TV program called "Sesame Street." ;^)

It is much easier asking these questions than doing actual research and coming up with some answers. I think a lot depends on what they are doing with technology: if they are reading and learning or just goofing around and wasting time.

I taught college classes for a number of years. Eventually, it became very common for students to bring their laptops with them to class. Some of them followed my lecture notes and tried sample problems. Others read email, web sites, or played games with the sound turned off. As long as they weren't disruptive, I didn't try to stop them.

Of course, K-12 is very different than college, but when I was in high school, I carried a book with me to read when a class got boring. These days I carry several books on my phone in case I get some extra time. My grades were pretty good, so I didn't seem to suffer from not paying attention.

Essentially, the question seems to be: "Does the teacher have to keep the students entertained?" Perhaps it should be phrased: "Does the teacher have to keep the students involved?" Teachers that drone on endlessly, sometimes reading their lecture notes, will have problems. Those that interact with their students and have activities that involve the students will do much better. As always, anything that changes the current situation is suspect.

Re:Sounds familiar (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868271)

"A wrinkle in time" - great kids sci-fi fantasy book I read at HS in the early 70's, there's plenty of real science and math concepts in the book. It wasn't given to me by the teachers since the book is around #30-40 in the list of books that people most wanted to ban. Apparently a lot of parents in the US don't like their kids reading about imaginary witches, even if they are educational and fun witches. Wonder what those same people think about Shakespear's witches, why the lack of petitions to ban the Bard?

Re:Sounds familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868471)

"A Wrinkle in Time" - I read it in 3rd grade in the 70s. I think it was the book that converted me from Hardy Boys' mysteries to Science Fiction, and I've never looked back.

Re:Sounds familiar (2)

nbauman (624611) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868483)

Television! That's what started the whole thing. Kids don't sit around reading books any more.

And the phonograph! Families don't sit around the piano singing songs any more.

I call B.S. (1)

jsh1972 (1095519) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867999)

Constant technology use makes my brain produces a level of gamma waves -- those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory, or vagina -- never before reported in neuroscience!

I guess most of us can agree with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868011)

Constant technology use has made us all idiots who only find work in fast food chains...

Critical thinking? Let's try critical thinking. (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868145)

Has anything else changed at the same time that might affect students?

Do the changes, if any, hurt or help their ability to learn in our current environment of constant torrents of information?

There's a claim about "ability to persevere in the face of challenging tasks". Do electronic games present challenging tasks that require perseverance? (Sorry, rhetorical question).

Re:Critical thinking? Let's try critical thinking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868263)

Games used to present challenging tasks that required perseverance but these days they have to be simple enough that the lowest common denominator can finish them in a week, otherwise it would not be possible to sell endless sequels and DLC.

You bet it does. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868333)

Damn kids always expect me to get to the point. It's like they don't even care that I had to walk to school in the driving rain, with melon-rinds for shoes, carrying my little brother under one arm, and 90 pounds of textbooks and homework under the other, up-hill... both-ways. Ingrates.

Kids not doing homework or paying attention?!?! (2)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868337)

It has to be the smartphones and laptops everywhere! Because kids did none of these things back in 1998

Correlation != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41868413)

Or maybe it's that the availability of said technology more readily exposes people with predispositions towards chronic attention span issues.

too busy... (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868495)

Constant Technology Use May Hamper Kids' Ability To Learn

It has certainly hampered my ability to take out the garbage or rake leaves in the backyard, as my wife will gladly tell you.

SO? (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868741)

So does sitting in a near silent classroom listening to a teacher drone on and on and on, with little or no regard to if anyone is paying attention for hours a day, most of the year, 12+ years in a row.

Re:SO? (1)

pgmsrs (2751769) | about a year and a half ago | (#41871195)

Fortunately the majority of teachers are not like this, especially those involved in Primary education. ( In Australia this is the first 7 years of school-Kindergarten to Year 6) Teachers are adapting their teaching styles to cater for the major increase in the use of technology by students to make sure that learning is at a premium. Teaching is about taking into account the individual learning styles of their students and creating opportunities for maximum learning. School is no longer about learning facts but being able to source the facts they need making sure they use a viable reference and to use the information in some way. My experience is with younger students. It is not the technology that is the problem but parents not limiting the availability time. It is not suitable for a 10 year old to have a mobile phone where they are texting or calling friends throughout the night and not getting enough sleep. Parents need to restrict access and encourage other activities.

Re:SO? (2)

lewko (195646) | about a year and a half ago | (#41871497)

I sat in an 'interactive' classroom for five year olds. Basically a 'smartboard' which was a projector and touchscreen.

When it was 'story time', the teacher presented the story similarly to any Powerpoint presentation. Except after every page, rather than moving on, the children would have to approach the board and 'find' various elements, singing birds, growing flowers etc.

I was thinking that the kids in China could have read six books in the time it took this class to get through one. It was totally unclear what value the technology added, besides briefly wowing parents who grew up with chalkboards (and will be able to spell better than most of these kids, thanks again to technology).

I'm still pissed off (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869491)

It's been widely proven that the proliferation of movable type has hindered our ability to remember campfire song handed down from our elder chiefs, like the one we need to know to remember when the salmon come back upstream, & no one has done anything about it!

It worse than that . . . (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869767)

Math students don't memorize their sine and cosine tables anymore, law students can barely speak Latin, and these young hot-shot doctors barely know a leech from a hole in the ground! But the real trouble started when they put one of those fancy schmancy crank-operated pencil sharpeners in every classroom. When I was in school we sharpened our pencils with a small knife and it worked just fine. Guess these kids are too lazy to do a little whittling.
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