Understanding Our High-Tech Students and Developing the Best Learning Approaches
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Understanding Our High-Tech Students and Developing the Best Learning Approaches. Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D. California State University, Dominguez Hills September 17, 2013. TECHNOLOGY USED TO BE JUST FOR GEEKS AND NERDS. … NOW IT IS FOR EVERYONE. TODAY’S TALK PLAN. A Tale of 6 Generations

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Understanding Our High-Tech Students and Developing the Best Learning Approaches

Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D.

California State University,

Dominguez Hills

September 17, 2013


TECHNOLOGY USED TO BE JUST FOR GEEKS AND NERDS. … NOW IT IS FOR EVERYONE


TODAY’S TALK PLAN

A Tale of 6 Generations

Gobbling a Daily Media Diet

A New Era of Communicating

Multitasking Madness

The Student Brain – A scary concept!

Three Simple Strategies for Educating Our Young Learners


WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF SIX VASTLY DIFFERENT GENERATIONS


THE PACE OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE IS DIZZYING

Penetration Rate = Years to Reach 50 Million Users

Radio took 38 years

The Telephone took 20 years

Television took 13 years

Cell Phones took 12 years

Angry Birds Took Just 35 Days!

The WWW took 4 years

iPods took 3 years

Blogs took 3 years

MySpace took 2.5 years

Facebook took 2 years

YouTube took 1 year


IS IT ANY WONDER WHY?

THESE ARE ALL TECHNOLOGIES THAT DID NOT EXIST BEFORE THE YEAR 2000

iPod

iPhone

Wii

MySpace

Facebook

Google+

LinkedIn

Hybrid Cars

iTunes

YouTube

Pandora

Twitter

iPad

XBox

Satellite Radio

Flickr

Skype

Camera Phones

Kindle

Firefox

Blackberry

3D TV

Club Penguin

TiVo

Broadband

Farmville

Groupon


AND THEY USE THEM ALL …

AT THE SAME TIME


NEW TECHNOLOGY IS MAKING OUR LIVES MORE DIFFICULT BECAUSE WE ARE CONTINUALLY HAVING TO LEARN MORE AND MORE . . . AND FASTER AND FASTER

And Sometimes it Just Doesn’t Make Sense


CHILDREN, TEENAGERS AND YOUNG ADULTS SEEM LIKE THEY ARE ALIENS … PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY COMMUNICATE


HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY ARE THEY USING EACH DAY?

BABY BOOMERS 8 HOURS A DAY

GENERATION X 15 HOURS A DAY

NET GENERATION 21 HOURS A DAY

iGENERATION 21 HOURS A DAY

GENERATION “C” 10 HOURS A DAY


WHAT TECHNOLOGIES DO THEY USE 2 HOURS OR MORE A DAY?

BABY BOOMERS TV

GENERATION X MUSIC

COMPUTERS

TV

GOING ONLINE

NET GENERATION MUSIC

TV

GOING ONLINE

TEXTING


HOW ABOUT OUR YOUNG LEARNERS?

iGENERATION MUSIC

TEXTING

GOING ONLINE

FACEBOOK

IM/CHAT

GENERATION “C” TV

VIDEO GAMES


THEY ALSO COMMUNICATE “DIFFERENTLY”


HERE ARE THEIR PREFERRED WAYS TO COMMUNICATE


Girls: 3,952

NATIONAL NIELSEN RESEARCH

3,417

September 2011

196

And 42% of teens say they can text blindfolded.


HAS THIS LED TO

MULTITASKING MADNESS?


THE EPITOME OF MULTITAKSING WAS INTRODUCED AT THE 2013 CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW


MEET THE BRAND NEW

iPotty


MULTITASKING ACROSS GENERATIONS

(“Continuous Partial Attention”)

GENERATION C iGENERATION NET GEN GEN X BABY

4-8 9-12 13-15 16-18 BOOMERS


WHICH TASKS ARE EASY OR DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO MULTITASK?

Eating and playing a board game?

Reading a book and listening to music?

Surfing the Internet and listening to music?

Reading a book and watching TV?

Reading a book and talking on the phone?

Reading a book, texting, Facebooking, and listening to music (with the TV on)?


ARE THEY REALLY MULTITASKING?

  • Their brains are really “task switching”

    • They make use of “Slack Time”

    • Technology makes them task switch:

      • Sounds

      • Vibrations

      • Visual displays


WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF MULTITASKING?

Attention Difficulties

Poor Decision Making

Breadth vs. Depth of Material

Information Overload

Internet Addiction

Poor Sleep Habits

Overuse of Caffeine


THE PROBLEM IS BETWEEN THEIR EARS … OR RATHER BEHIND THEIR FOREHEAD

PREFRONTAL CORTEX


WHAT DOES THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX DO?

  • Executive controller

  • Working memory

  • Attention & focus

  • Decision making

  • Multitasking control

  • Impulse control


NERVE CELLS IN THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX DO NOT FUNCTION WELL FROM BIRTH


INFANT NEURONS START WITHOUT A “COATING” CALLED MYELIN


AT BIRTH CHILDREN START TO MYELINATE NEURONS BUT SOME SIGNALS STILL ESCAPE


BY ADULTHOOD ALL NEURONS ARE MYELINATED


THE DEVELOPMENTAL PROCESS OF MYELINATION


WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

  • Without myelin, neurons don’t conduct signals properly

  • The last brain area to be myelinated is the prefrontal cortex

  • The prefrontal cortex is your executive controller

  • This happens in late 20s/early 30s


AND TECHNOLOGY OVERLOADS OUR BRAINS

YOUR BRAIN SEARCHING GOOGLE

YOUR BRAIN READING A BOOK


IT IS ALSO ABOUT ANXIETY

  • 67% of teens and young adults check their phones every 15 minutes or less

  • If they can’t check in that often, 50% get moderately-to-highly anxious

  • What are they checking?

    • Text messages

    • Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.


OUR RECENT STUDY OF ANXIETY AND OBSESSION

(Cheever, Pasquerella, Rosen, & Carrier, 2013)

  • 163 college students

  • 75 minute session

  • Half allowed to keep/use smartphones

  • Half had smartphones removed

  • THE TASK? JUST SIT THERE AND DO NOTHING – NO TALKING, NO SCHOOL WORK … NOTHING

  • Measured anxiety three times: 20, 40, 60 minutes


WHAT HAPPENED TO ANXIETY?

Smartphones taken away


WHO GOT THE MOST ANXIOUS?


Smartphone Taken Away

Increased Anxiety

Heavy Smartphone Users

Light Smartphone Users


WHAT DOES A BRAIN NEED TO STAY HEALTHY?

  • Time away from technology

    • Communication Skills

    • Creative Thinking

    • Calmness

  • Sleep for “synaptic rejuvenation”

  • Periodic “resetting”


THE BRAIN NEEDS SLEEP

  • Doctors recommend 9 hours per night for preteens and teenagers!

  • Average teen sleeps 6.1 hours per school night; 10.3 on weekend

  • Sleep Debt = 12 hours per week

  • 80% of teenagers say they “rarely or never get a good night’s sleep


WHAT DO TEENS DO IN THE HOUR BEFORE SLEEP?


AND THEY SLEEP WITH THEIR PHONE ON!

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR CELL PHONE WHEN YOU GO TO SLEEP?

Leave the ringer on (44%)

Put ringer on vibrate (31%)


WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SHOW ABOUT TEEN SLEEP DISRUPTION?

  • Is it the light? NO IT IS NOT!

  • Is it “couch potato” activities? NO

  • (in fact a little nighttime TV helps!)

  • Is it their computer use? NO

  • Is it their homework? NO

SO, WHAT IS IT?

  • Incessant multitasking in last hour

  • Smartphone use in last hour

  • Cell phone interrupted sleep


“NORMAL” SLEEP CYCLES

  • Synaptic Rejuvenation

  • Default Mode Network


WHAT HAPPENS IF SLEEP IS DISRUPTED?

  • Instant dreaming

  • Lack of consolidation/pruning

  • Less time for creative thinking


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN, TEENS & YOUNG ADULTS?


THREE CONCERNS FOR OUR STUDENTS AND CHILDREN

  • Underdeveloped Social Skills

  • Shallow Thinking Skills/Habits

  • Changes in Brain Functioning - Neuroplasticity


THIS LEADS TO THREE MAIN ISSUES FOR EDUCATORS

  • Understanding their values

  • Helping them understand why their brains get distracted

  • Helping them learn how to focus and attend


OUR YOUNG STUDENTS HAVE 10 UNIQUE VALUES

Social connections are everything

Speed/Immediacy is CRITICAL

Belief in SELF: Any dream can be reality

Enjoy being creative

Strong family connection (not f2f)


Strong work ethic, but temptedby distractions (both external & internal)

Prefer to work in teams (“social”)

Prefer project deadlinesbut no progress reports

Need positive reinforcement immediateand often

Motivated by time off to play with technology


HELPING THEM LEARN “FOCUS AND ATTENTION” IS CRITICAL


HOW DO STUDENTS FOCUS WHILE STUDYING?

ARE THEY DISTRACTED?

---------

AND WHAT ROLE DOES TECHNOLOGY PLAY IN THEIR FOCUS AND ATTENTION?


OUR STUDY OF STUDYING:

A CASE OF DISTRACTED LEARNERS

  • 279 students observed studying [middle school, high school, college]

  • 15 minutes – observe every minute

    • On-task or off-task?

    • What is on computer screen?

    • Daily use of technologies and media

    • Studying strategies?

    • Preference for task switching

  • School performance/grade on test


FOCUSED

FOCUSED

FOCUSED

SAME FOR COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS AND MEDICAL STUDENTS

DISTRACTED

DISTRACTED


AND … THE MOST OFF-TASK STUDENTS HAD THE MOST OPEN WINDOWS!!!


WHAT PREDICTS SCHOOL PERFORMANCE (GRADES)?

How much they stay “on task” (GOOD!)

If they have strategies for studying (GOOD!)

Preference for task switching (BAD )

Daily media consumption (BAD )

Whether they checked Facebook ONCE during 15 minutes (AWFUL!)


WHY CAN’T THEY FOCUS AND PAY ATTENTION?

  • OUTSIDE IN THE REAL WORLD

    • The “alerts” that come from smartphones

    • And television has changed, too, to grab our children’s attention

  • INSIDE THE BRAIN

    • Human Orienting Response

    • The mind is always thinking … about technology AND THIS MAKES THEM ANXIOUS


Knowing how you best learn

Knowing how your brain works

Knowing what conditions help you best learn and study

IT IS ALL ABOUT “METACOGNITION”


OUR RECENT STUDY:

METACOGNITION IN ACTION

  • 4 university classes; n=175

  • 30 minutes video lecture

  • Interruptions: no texts, 4 text, 8 texts

What is your major and why did you choose it?


IMPACT OF INTERRUPTIONS

72%

8 TEXT GROUP DID WORSE THAN 0 TEXT GROUP

=


DID ANYONE SHOW “METACOGNITION”?

  • Those who IMMEDIATELY read and respond to a text message got a “C”

  • Those who waited for a few minutes to read or respond got an “A”!


POSSIBLE METACOGNITIVE QUESTIONS FOR STUDENTS

  • The best room for me to study in at home is ___________ because ___________.

  • Some ways that I can avoid distractions while studying at home are ___________.

  • A good place for me to put my phone before a class or before studying is ___________.

  • If I use technology in class, some ways that I can make sure I don’t get distracted are ___________.


WHAT DISRUPTS STUDENTS THE MOST?

  • Electronic Communication:

    • Texting, e-mail, IM

  • Social media


RESETTING THE BRAIN

  • THINK coffee break or cigarette break

    • Improves performance

  • Pre-teen, teen & young adult behaviors

    • Bored – used to task switching

    • Texting is modern day “passing notes”

    • Attention span (remember 3-5 minutes!)

  • The teenage brain – where does the oxygen flow?


HOW TO RESET THEIR BRAINS

(and maybe yours, too!)

  • Nature Breaks (live or virtual)

  • Tech Breaks

  • Music/Art

  • Exercise

  • Meditation/Biofeedback

  • Laughter

  • Hot Bath

  • Talking (live) to a friend (3:1 ratio of positives)

  • Practicing a foreign language

  • Playing a musical instrument


TEACHING OUR STUDENTS DIGITAL TIME MANAGEMENT USING THE A-B-C METHOD

  • Aware of options (distractors)

  • Breathe – calm/reset brain

  • Choose good options (metacognition)


Tk u 4 urtme. r thr n e qs 4 me?


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