Lord Stanhope’s letter illustrates the longstanding concerns about multitasking. Even the earliest education journals studied the issue of distractibility and spreading attention too thinly (Bailey, 1889; Denio, 1897; Henderson, Crews, & Barlow, 1945; Poyntz, 1933). With digital technology, not only has the issue persisted, there are concerns that the impact on learning is even greater than before (Bowman, Levine, Waite, & Gendron, 2010; Fox, Rosen, & Crawford, 2009; Levine, Waite, & Bowman, 2007). Ubiquitous, always-on technology is changing the way humans engage with information and interact with each other. While offering tremendous personal and social enhancements, it also demands an increasingly greater share of our attention. …show more content…
Over the next decade, multitasking was used to describe an individual’s management of more than one task at a time and was seen as a desirable skill at home and at work (Chiavenato, 2001; Frand, 2000; Gray, 2000; “Multi-tasking with your baby,” 2001).
Multitasking refers to the choices people make about when and where they focus attention while attending to more than one task (Kenyon, 2008). The urge to multitask arises when more than one goal must be accomplished at more or less the same time and the individual has to balance pursuit of all goals independently and without cues to change tasks (Burgess, 2000). “Media multitasking” is the term used to describe multitasking that involves at least one form of digital technology (Judd, 2013) or, more commonly two or more forms of technology (Brasel & Gips, 2011; Lin, Lee, & Robertson, 2011; Rideout, 2013).
Cognitively, human multitasking is better understood as task switching, or continuous, often rapid redirections of attention. (Firat, 2013a, 2013b). Multitasking, it seems, has three dimensions: direction, duration, and