Teachers Lend Their Views

On November 1st, Pew Internet released a report called “How Teens Do Research in a Digital World”. I spent time reading the fifth section of the report, which relayed teacher comments about literacy, reading, focus, overexposure, and adaptation. Parents who are curious about how digital technologies are impacting the classroom will find a variety of perspectives to consider. The report can be downloaded via PDF, or viewed online.

Here are two points of view written in the report, along with a graphic about what skills teachers consider most valuable for students to have in the future:

In focus groups, participants expressed concern about the following elements of “digital culture” and their impact on students’ ability to focus and their time management: 

  • Students’ “overexposure” to technology—and the multi-tasking that often accompanies the use of these technologies—contributes to lack of focus and diminished ability to retain knowledge
  • Students do not set aside enough time for crucial tasks, and often use the various digital tools at their disposal to “waste time” and procrastinate
  • Some students’ “addiction” to online gaming and video games consumes their time and attention
  • Students are so often “plugged in” that they are missing out on the world around them
  • “Overexposure” and “overuse” of digital technologies is not actually making students more technologically literate or more efficient

Yet, almost as many teachers argued that today’s students are not more easily distracted than prior generations, citing examples of students engaging with assignments over long periods of time.  The difference, some teachers suggest, is that today’s students are easily bored by information that is presented in “traditional” ways and that teachers need to adjust their methods to engage students…



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