Does Technology Affect Students' Learning? Essay
Nancy Palmieri for The New York Times
Lisa Baldwin, a chemistry teacher, works with her students to fight through academic challenges.
By MATT RICHTEL
Published: November 1, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/education/technology-is-changing-how-students-learn-teachers-say.html?src=me&ref=general
There is a widespread belief among teachers that students’ constant use of digital technology is hampering their attention spans and ability to persevere in the face of challenging tasks, according to two surveys of teachers being released on Thursday.
Hope Molina-Porter, an English teacher in Fullerton, Calif., worries that technology is deeply altering how students learn.
The …show more content…
She said she did not want to shrink from the challenge of engaging them, nor did other teachers interviewed, but she also worried that technology was causing a deeper shift in how students learned. She also wondered if teachers were adding to the problem by adjusting their lessons to accommodate shorter attention spans.
“Are we contributing to this?” Ms. Molina-Porter said. “What’s going to happen when they don’t have constant entertainment?”
Scholars who study the role of media in society say no long-term studies have been done that adequately show how and if student attention span has changed because of the use of digital technology. But there is mounting indirect evidence that constant use of technology can affect behavior, particularly in developing brains, because of heavy stimulation and rapid shifts in attention.
Kristen Purcell, the associate director for research at Pew, acknowledged that the findings could be viewed from another perspective: that the education system must adjust to better accommodate the way students learn, a point that some teachers brought up in focus groups themselves.
“What we’re labeling as ‘distraction,’ some see as a failure of adults to see how these kids process information,” Ms. Purcell said. “They’re not saying distraction is good