Rewiring youth's brains
Big Picture posted this and it is worth watching.
I took the title from about half way into the video, about 5:30. One of the things that it is pointing out is we are unaware of the degree to which electronics is rewiring student's brains, at least that is the way the video describes it.
As an educator, I have been saying for sometime, never on CAPS before, how today's electronic devices are stealing education and making classroom management a nightmare. When we were young teachers did not have to fight with cell phones, ipods, and other electronic devices that students have and use without any of the restraint that adults tend to have. The internet is a wonderful resource, but guarantee I try to get students to use it for what it can bring to a classroom and I fight the chat, and all of the internet browsing activities.
Certainly parents play a huge role in shaping children around these electronic devices. And, there is a huge difference between passive TV or a book and the interactiveness of today's electronic devices. There is a piece in the video showing how it affects boy's success when they've played thousands of hours of video games at the expense of developing social skills.
The other thing we fight big time in the class room is students are getting way less sleep because of these devices. I don't have the links handy, but research shows that poor sleep affects memory as much as substance abuse during pregnancy. Children's declining memory ability has been an issue that teachers discuss because memory has really declined and it negatively affects other learning. When children can not memorize certain things it really messes up future education. For example, when they can't memorize the multiplication table, how can they see factors and move on to division, fractions, percents, etc.? I have found memory issues huge in just teaching the basics in math.
We have a morning meeting with our students at school and I often ask them what time they got to bed and I get answers like 1, 2 and 3 am, and then attendance declines. This problem is becoming so serious, we are looking at having town meetings with teachers and parents trying to raise the issues with the parents and look at how we can work on solutions together where we stand together in what's best for the social and educational development of children. This year was the worst year for these problems and it has become critical in looking at how to turn it around.
Something else, he says the 3 R just aren't going to work for these kids that are so used to being in control of their environment, but if you put students on computers and try to give them that interaction, they do not use the time that way, they go to the chat and the surfing. It is like bringing an addiction to the classroom. Most of us probably did our "best" work under a closing deadline. We procrastinated until we had no choice. What I am seeing in students is the drive to do these other activities is so strong, they have a looming deadline they aren't responding with that normal drive to get it done in a last minute rush. If they are on a computer, they surf their time away regardless of consequences. That is addictive behaviour.
And, interestingly, I got so frustrated with a student just wasting and surfing class time away and letting deadlines go by while working on the school yearbook, which is an opportunity to be creative, I removed her from the yearbook and put a math text in front of her and she actually worked awesome, something the video suggested would not happen.