'New tech creating distracted gen with short attention spans'



Houston: Amidst the flooding of new digital media, teachers believe that the trend is creating distracted generation with short attention spans, and have advocated for digital literacy, a recent study has found.

The study conducted by Pew Research Center surveyed Advanced Placement (AP) teachers who had participated in the National Writing Project's Summer Institute (NWP) as well as those at a College Board school in the Northeast US.

The results were very interesting as although many teachers said that internet and digital search tools have had a 'mostly positive' impact on their students' research work, they also believe that these tools are creating an 'easily distracted generation with short attention spans'.

Teachers, though, remained somewhat optimistic about digital impact, with 77 per cent saying Internet search tools have had a "mostly positive" impact on their students' work.

Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project, told news website Mashable that problem could be lack of digital literacy training students receive, not the technology itself.

The study found that 47 per cent of teachers strongly agreed that courses and content in digital literacy should be incorporated into a school's curriculum.

The results found were similar across grades and subjects.

This could be because search engines and Wikipedia have created an entire generation of students who are used to one-click results and easy-to-Google answers.

Sixty-five per cent of teachers said the Internet is making for more self-sufficient researchers but, at the other end, 83 per cent of teachers say the amount of information online is overwhelming to students.

Rainie says that the overwhelming nature of technology could be attributed to the inability for students at such young ages to be able to master time management.

"Teachers say a big skill parents can pass down is attention management," Rainie said.

"Being an effective citizen in the network age is being shrewd about when you're on the grid and off the grid, when you're open to being diverted and when it's time to buckle down," she said.

Moreover, Rainie says, teachers have already begun to adapt to the "new media ecosystem that they know their students are living in" by encouraging students to use tools like mobile phones in useful ways that can improve their methods of education.

PTI