Saturday, June 25, 2011

Popcorn Brain

A recent CNN article highlights a phenomenon researchers are calling popcorn brain: Intense brain stimulation from constant Internet engagement may be shortening attention spans and reducing our ability to focus.

The article mentions a woman who feels guilty because she can't take a brief walk with her husband without playing with her smart phone.

Yesterday, I went to an action-packed outdoor sporting event with my school's tech coordinator. He filmed every event in which I participated, and instantly uploaded the videos to Posterous. In all, we both probably spent over half of our time engaging with media - from directions to the event, to Net surfing on the ride home.

I will also admit that when I watch a movie with my wife, I typically have my laptop open next to me ... it's rare I completely shut down the machine and focus on a film.

So what does all of this mean?

For me in the classroom, it comes down to expectations and teaching style. We should expect short attention spans, and expect our kids to dread worksheets and tune out long lectures.

We should push ourselves to stay abreast of technology, and use it frequently in short, dynamic lessons.

I think most of all we should accept reality for what it is ... vs. pining for what was.

Fact: Our kids think and learn differently than many of us do. I'll keep popcorn brain in mind as I develop my lessons for the coming year. All I need to focus is a good legal pad and ballpoint pen.

... and two laptops running Google Chrome. And the TV on, streaming a movie. And my smart phone. And something cold to drink. That's it!

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Bring up this concept at Pinnacle.