A 2004 study, “Miracle or Menace: Teaching and Learning with Laptop Computers in the Classroom,”
found that unless students were being watched or had been reprimanded, they would Web surf or instant-message during class.
at University of California Los Angeles, the University of Michigan and MIT found that it’s impossible for the human brain to learn in a meaningful while it’s distracted.
Associate professor of Behavioral Neuroscience Russell Poldrack
, who oversaw the UCLA study, says that the human brain “learns” in two separate regions:
David M. Levy
- If you’re distracted, you process information through the basal ganglia, which is the part of the brain used for superficial memorization and “habit forming.”
- If you’re focused, you process information through the hippocampus, which is used for storing rich and complex images of the past. It’s the part of the brain that allows you to process information, manipulate it, and use it to reproduce creative thought.
, a professor at the Information School at the University of Washington and a recent recipient of a MacArthur Grant, worries
that everyone – adults and children alike – are suffering from this “multitasking mentality.”
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- “No Time to Think: Reflections on Information Technology and Contemplative Scholarship”
- “We are losing the time to look and to think at exactly the moment we have produced a remarkable new set of tools for scholarly investigation and communication… Certain activities associated with education and learning – searching for information, collecting and superficially reviewing it – can be sped up, while others – sustained reflection and contemplation, simply cannot.”