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The phenomenon of multitasking as a student activity is deemed as a rather controversial subject due to its debatable outcomes (Paul par. 5). Numerous studies point to the fact that multitasking hurts students as its effects on the developing mental capabilities thereof has not been fully examined yet (Keim par. 2). However, other authors claim that multitasking can help address a range of issues that teenage learners have.
Although multitasking is viewed as negative by numerous scholars due to its possible detrimental effects on the developing brain of a teenager, it, affects children positively as it helps improve their attention and improves the learners’ mood, therefore, creating premises for the development of strong motivations for studying.
Although multitasking has been receiving a significant backlash from scholars over the past few years, it can be viewed as a crucial step in updating the learners’ skills and abilities: “While multitasking often gets a bad rap, new research suggests concurrent integration of different types of media may help an individual perform a specific task” (Nauert par. 1). The reasons for the subject matter to lose its popularity are rather understandable. After the hype over the phenomenon, questions concerning the possible drawbacks have emerged, triggering an immediate discussion of the effects that multitasking may have on the mind that has not been fully developed yet. Thus, researches have displayed the possibility of cognitive impairment in the process of multitasking. However, further analysis has shown that multitaskers can be split into two categories, i.e., frequent (FM) and light (LM) ones. While highly negative outcomes area possible for the former, the latter is unlikely to develop any unhealthy habits or face the obstacles that will hamper their mental development (Nauert par. 1–15).
The effects of multitasking used to be viewed as positive as it was suggested that the subject matter helps learners acquire new skills more expeditiously and efficiently. However, recent studies tend to subvert the above statement, making it quite clear that the efficacy of performing several tasks at once does not have an immediate positive effect on learners. Nevertheless, there is still enough evidence that the subject matter helps improve the cognitive skills of students significantly. Even though the study carried out by the University of Hong Kong did not provide actual proof thereof, there are reasons to assume that multitasking leaves a positive impact (Taylor par. 4). While the effects on the learners’ cognitive abilities are not direct, the simultaneous performance of several tasks contributes to a significant rise in the learners’ mood. As a result, enthusiasm rates can be increased significantly. The lack of productivity in the course of multitasking, in its turn, can be explained by the fact that people are easily distracted by the media and, therefore, cannot control the process of switching from one source of information to another. After all, “if a person multitasks today, he or she is more likely to multitask again tomorrow” (Taylor par. 8)
Another way of looking at multitasking, the article written by the Mail Online reporter points to the fact that the ability to focus on several tasks at once is, in fact, an opportunity rather than a threat as far as the educational process is concerned. A small research was carried out at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. In the course of the study, 63 people participated in an experiment requiring them to spot the dot of a required color (“Modern Multi-tasking in the World of Technology Is Good for Your Brain Because It Trains You to Use More Senses” par. 5). Once in a while, the participants would hear a random sound that they were not supposed to respond in any manner.
As the study has shown, the people multitasking in the process have displayed much better results than those who focused on a single assignment. The outcomes of the study can be viewed as the platform for the development of further research addressing the subject matter: “Dr. Kelvin Lui and Dr. Alan Wong, the study’s authors, said the findings highlighted ‘an interesting possibility of the effect of media multitasking on certain cognitive abilities, multi-sensory integration in particular’” (“Modern Multi-tasking in the World of Technology Is Good for Your Brain Because It Trains You to Use More Senses” par. 9). Thus, it can be assumed that the dilemma regarding the encouragement of multitasking remains unresolved unless more detailed information is provided.
Although the idea of multitasking seems rather fascinating, it has been looked down upon due to the possible negative implications that it might ensue. Consequently, multitasking has not been encouraged since its discovery, which might be a huge loss for learners. By helping learners keep the focus on what is important and at the same time giving them a chance to switch from one type of assignment to another, one is likely to create premises for a successful skill training process.
Keim, Brandon. Is Multitasking Bad For Us? 2012. Web.
Nauert, Rick. Positives from Multitasking. n. d. Web.
Paul, Annie Murphy. How Does Multitasking Change the Way Kids Learn? 2013. Web.
Taylor, Amy. Media Multitasking May Not Always Be a Bad Thing, Experts Say. 2012. Web.