The front page of Sunday’s New York Times included an article titled Slow Down, Brave Multitasker, and Don’t Read This in Traffic. Included in the article is a rundown of some recent research and publications related to multitasking behaviors of teens and adults. It is interesting to read what scientists are saying about how people multitask and whether or not the act of doing more than one thing at a time does have an impact on the quality of what’s accomplished.

It’s important to read this research as a way to prepare for responding to what parents and colleagues might say about teen abilities to text message, do homework, talk to friends, and more all at the same time. The research isn’t totally positive about the impact of multitasking, it’s not totally negative either, but it does give you a perspective on what’s going on with teens, and adults, when the multitask and when multitasking doesn’t hinder work and when it does (or might.)

Think about talking to the teens in your library about what the article and research says about multitasking. Do the teens agree? Do they think it’s crazy? What do they think about their own personal multitasking behaviors?

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.
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One Comment

  1. Jami Schwarzwalder [Member]

    In a way their test for people’s ability to multitask wasn’t measuring a persons ability to perform two tasks but rather a persons ability to learn two tasks at the same time.
    Factories work the same way, when you focus on one thing you can do that task faster and accurate, but on the other side if performing the same task for an extended period of time one’s brain can go numb and will go “off task” with day dreaming, or other activity.
    I know people who always talk on their cell phone while driving. One told me that its not much different than listening to the radio, because even then they talk back and yell especially at NPR.

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