Yesterday (November 21, 2010) a New York Times article, Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction, described the increasing problems that adolescents experience when choosing between computer entertainment and school assignments. Moreover, a fair number of students find it more and more difficulty complete reading assignments because they prefer short-lived digital activities. One compelling point in reporter Matt Richtel’s article stands out and makes me wonder — is the digital divide expanding before our eyes, even in families that can afford basic computer equipment and access?
The United States Library of Congress started with Thomas Jefferson’s personal library – 6,487 books. Now it’s an enormous collection of information on almost any topic a person wants to study. The library’s history page notes that “… it has become the largest repository of recorded knowledge in the world and a symbol of the vital connection between knowledge and democracy.”
The resourceful staff at the Library have a finger on the cultural pulse of the country, so not only do the collections include books, papers, music, film, historical documents, and images, but now the library is digitizing its collection. As of February 2009 there were 15.3 million digitized items and anyone can access and download this information to a computer. According to the Library of Congress blog (subscribers welcomed), if all of those digitized items could be saved to CD-ROM disks, the pile would be a mile high, and that was more than a year ago.
The Library of Congress website is just the right place to get started with research for a class project or homework assignment. Start by going the section for kids and families, with features that are mostly, but not exclusively, useful to elementary and middle school students. Some of the searchable features in this section include: Continue reading “The Library of Congress Website: Go Exploring with Primary Sources – Bookmark-It”
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”