Multitask Analysis

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The rapid growth of technology over the past decade has lead to an increase in multitasking, especially with students. Effects of multitasking are discussed in the article “Can students really multitask? An experimental study of instant messaging while reading”, by Bowman et al. The author discusses “performing certain tasks simultaneously” (Bowman et al. 927) and how they can affect a student’s memory. While this study suggests that the use of media along with “competing cognitive tasks” (Bowman et al. 928) can negatively impact the brain, it also references the positive aspects of online involvement. For instance, some online activities can enrich learning through “allowing immediate and wide availability of information previously difficult…show more content…
In spite of this, it has been found that while performing multiple tasks at once may seem like an effective use of time, “dividing attention between one or more tasks leads to decrements in performance.” (Bowman et al. 928). The effects of multitasking along with electronic media use can often prove detrimental to the learning capacity of the brain. As Bowman et al. explained, “different areas of the brain are involved in the processing of dual- versus single task activities, and that the type of activity produces different types of learning.” (Bowman et al. 928). Many “dual task activities produce habit learning” (Bowman et al. 928), also known as ‘procedural memory’, whereas single task activities produce memories that can be consciously recalled, such as facts and verbal knowledge. In other words, “Multitasking adversely affects how you learn. Even if you learn while multitasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialized, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily.” (Rosen 107). Thus, engaging in multiple activities at once may result in purely “superficial processing” (Bowman et al. 928), where students may be unable to recall details from the information studied. Despite the negative aspects of multitasking, it has been discovered that media may contribute positively to the classroom environment. For example, students may also be using technology “to help with their academic work” (Bowman et al. 927), and it has been discovered that media may “enhance online participation in class.” (Bowman et al. 927). There is also evidence to support the idea that the use of various forms of media can “allow educators alternate roads to reach more students” (Bowman et al. 930), as well as enable “students to connect better with topics” (Bowman et

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