Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, brain, parents and technology

Multi-tasking May Be a Myth Says John Medina

brain-rules-cover-172In today’s always-connected world we feel proud of our ability to do several things at once, and many adults are even more amazed as they watch their children managing multiple tasks at the same time.

It turns out, however, that we may need to rearrange the way we work, reconsider our understanding of multi-tasking, and rethink how we supervise children when they are attending to learning activities. According to Professor John Medina, a respected molecular biologist and author of the 2008 book, Brain Rules, the brain cannot multitask efficiently. Multi-tasking during homework times may decrease a 21st Century student’s ability to learn efficiently.

Medina’s book, an entertaining read, discusses 12 important brain rules and devotes one chapter to multitasking. Addressing the widely accepted view that in the digital age we all multi-task effectively, Dr. Medina explains why the brain has trouble with multi-tasking and why this practice can cause difficulty for learners, workers, and especially for pre-teens and adolescents. Many entertaining video explanations of the 12 brain rules are posted on his website.                                                          Continue reading “Multi-tasking May Be a Myth Says John Medina”

Posted in brain, learning and the brain, parents and technology

Look Forward to Hearing Bill Gates and Dr. John Medina Present

Image from Dr. Medina’s website.

I am attending a conference, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), in Seattle, WA and especially looking forward to hearing two speakers.

Bill Gates will present on Thursday morning, just a couple of days after India was declared a polio-free country. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with many other public health experts, worked hard to achieve this goal. Thought Gates will speak on education at NAIS, I hope he at least mentions this dramatic public health achievement.

I will also look forward to hearing how he believes schools should expand their visions on education.

Dr. John Medina, the author of Brain Rules, will also be speaking. Dr. Medina speaks fast and animatedly, and I’ve heard him speak two times. Here’s a MediaTechParenting post, Multitasking is a Myth, that I wrote some time ago after hearing Medina deliver a lecture and reading his book, Brain Rules.

Posted in digital parenting, good books to read, homework time, learning and the brain, parents and technology

Multi-tasking is a Myth, Researcher John Medina Maintains

Many of us may need to rearrange the way we work, reconsider our understanding of multi-tasking, and rethink how we supervise our children during homework time. According to Professor John Medina, the brain cannot multitask efficiently.

Dr. Medina, a respected molecular biologist who teaches at the University of Washington, published Brain Rules in 2008, and his book spent many weeks on the New York Times best seller list. In this entertaining read he discusses 12 important brain rules with one chapter devoted to multitasking. Addressing the widely accepted view that in the digital age we all multi-task effectively, Dr. Medina explains why the brain has trouble with multi-tasking and why this practice can cause trouble for learners, workers, and especially for pre-teens and adolescents. Many entertaining video explanations of the 12 brain rules are posted at his website. Continue reading “Multi-tasking is a Myth, Researcher John Medina Maintains”

Posted in 21st Century life, back-to-school, Back-to-school digital reading, digital wellness, parents and technology

Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist

backpack picThis post includes a downloadable handout.

At the beginning of the school year, what can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids — with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online endeavors — get off to a good start?

Back-to-school preparation is more than school supplies, lunch boxes, and carpool arrangements. It also involves reviewing and articulating connected-life expectations with family members and working together to set up a family media plan that works for each person in the family.

Below are a few issues for parents and educators to consider as they seek to maintain quality in kids’ 21st Century digital lives during the 2019-2020 school year. Raising strong and competent digital citizens requires teamwork and immense effort — at home and at school.

handout image 2
Download this PDF handout.

1.  Make decisions about screen time in your family. Altogether, as a family, figure out your plan and then think about how you will re-address your decisions as the year progresses. Check out the 2018 article, How Much Screen Time Affects Kids’ Bodies and Brains at Forbes. Family issues to consider might include:

  • What limits will your family set up for digital devices, electronic games, and television?
  • If your child uses a personal device from school, are you aware of specific teacher expectations and time commitments?
  • What else would you like your child to spend time doing?
  • A good article for parents and educators (and a great back-to-school piece to share with parents) is on the NPR website — Kids and Screen Time-What Does the Research Say?   

Continue reading “Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist”

Posted in parents and technology

Who’s in Charge of that Laptop or Digital Device from School?

Yesterday in the grocery store check-out line three parents chatted about the devices their children take back and forth to school. When you are cooling your heels waiting to pay for the food in your shopping cart, it is difficult not to listen to the various conversations occurring around you.

ipad work at homeEssentially the parents asked one another how they were monitoring what their middle school children do on their laptops during homework time. All three adults sensed that while their kids were working on their homework they were also engaged with other apps (like social media!). When they inquired, their offspring always said they were doing school work. The parents weren’t so sure. Continue reading “Who’s in Charge of that Laptop or Digital Device from School?”

Posted in acceptable use, digital citizenship, family life, mobile media devices, parents and technology, parents as mentors

Let’s Also Think About Grown-up’s Screen Time

Mid-morning coffee with an iPad.
Mid-morning coffee with an iPad.

With so much conversation about screen time for kids of all ages, it’s also useful to think and talk about adults’ screen time. Adults model, but not always well, screen time habits for the young people in their families. When asked, most 21st Century children can share all sorts of stories about how much time their parents spend on their devices, even at inappropriate or inopportune times.

In his New York Magazine article, I Used to Be a Human Being, writer and contemporary thinker Andrew Sullivan contemplates the overwhelming “full immersion” that he and many adults experience with the online world.

Continue reading “Let’s Also Think About Grown-up’s Screen Time”

Posted in 21st Century life, collaborating with kids, digital health and wellness, digital life, family conversations, parents and technology, screen time, starting the school year

The Screen Time Equation – Crafting Thoughtful Solutions to a Digital Life Dilemma

screen time
What is screen media?

Crafting screen time guidelines for all family members is a great back-to-school undertaking, but coming up with guidance that is fair and equitable requires family members to consider and answer a range of questions.

Devoting beginning-of-the-year time — at home and at school — to examine solutions to the screen time equation will help 21st Century  children find and understand answers to the most challenging question that so many of us ask, “What exactly is screen time?” To help get started the whole family can listen to a radio program about screen time, a 2015 broadcast on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show.

Schools can support and collaborate with families by helping students understand the usefulness of non-screen activities, specifying clearly to parents and students the academic expectations for school digital devices at home, and explaining in detail what students are expected to do and use when they complete work online. Refocusing on multitasking (It’s not possible.) is also a good idea as well as stating the school’s commitment to student privacy.         Continue reading “The Screen Time Equation – Crafting Thoughtful Solutions to a Digital Life Dilemma”