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From the BBC: Computers can impact on children’s ability to learn, says union
From the BBC comes word from Northern Ireland. (please read this in your best Irish brogue)
1. Bah! Damn kids an' their computers, no time to focus, and they canna learn!
2. Eh, I remember when WE were small lads. Now THAT was a time to focus an be ON TASK
1. Oh yea...
2. Jeeeeeessssssuuuusss, we could stay focused for 30 hours a day doing something we hated while being whipped
1. Sounds like you were at an easy school. We were focused for 200 hours every hour, and if your attention wandered for even a moment, you'd be taken out and tossed over a cliff
2. oh yea, the old "focus cliffs of doom?"
1. aye, thems the one.
(end Irish brogue)
I support the notion and idea that focus and attention are in danger with technology. What I reject is this silly idea that If we keep doing what we have always done, everything will be fine. Technology (and other cognitive tools) have changed (are changing) the ways our kids think, communicate, recreate, and learn. It is a significant and major change, and will continue to challenge old ways of thinking about cognition and learning. This is at the heart of SAMR, and our thinking that learing must be different when you use technology.
But here's the thing.
I am a proponent of mindfulness in schools. Not hippy-tree-hugger stuff, but rather teaching our kids how to focus and think using the tools of mindfulness. We cannot pretend our context has not changed. It has, and we must adapt.
Mindfulness in schools: a good article
From KQED comes this good article about mindfulness in schools. (open PDF here).
My favorite quote:
“When we look at low performing schools it’s not that these children are unable to learn, it’s that very often they are unavailable to learn.”
I only have one quibble with the article. I do not like using the word multitasking to describe what children pretend to do (it's not multitasking, it's rapid task switching). And if you want to really learn about the excellent psychological research about task switching, use task switching or attention as a starting point.
Great youtube video: be here now
I am still surprised how little time I spend here and now. I often think about the future, or perseverate about the past, leaving me little time to be in the here and now. I remain convinced teaching our kids (and modelling) about mindfulness must be part of a technology program.
iDiots: a clever commentary on what we may become
Without much further comment: