“The worry is we’re raising a generation of kids in front of screens whose brains are going to be wired differently.” Michael Rich, Harvard Medical School

Carol’s Summary:

New York Times reporter, Matt Richtel, looks at technology and the side effects on younger people in Sunday’s article, “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.” Richtel follows a few students who have natural obsessions with a variety of technologies and who see it effecting their academic lives. Vishal Singh, 17, is a bright student who aspires to be a filmmaker. He ended last year with a 2.3 GPA. He works on filming and cutting videos when he should be studying and hopes his talent will make up for where his grades lack when he is applying for college. Another student spends 6 hours playing video games during the week, and an even higher daily average on the weekends. While still another sends 27,000 texts a month and can get so caught up she forgets to do her homework. Can schools tear students away from their favorite technology? The principal at Singh’s school, David Reilly, believes that the classroom should incorporate more technology to get more students interested. “I am trying to take back their attention from their BlackBerry’s and video games,” says Reilly. “To a degree, I’m using technology to do it.”

Reilly’s method seems to be a common idea in the school system. Give students what they want and they will be more likely to show up and be engaged. Researchers are saying this might not really be so. Young brains are developing on technology that only asks for a quick piece of your time and is easily manageable with a low-attention span. Schools that cater to this new programmed thinking might be harming the student if it is the emphasis in both their personal and academic lives.

How can teachers use technology, white boards and gaming  strategies to get students to create their own lesson plans?  How can students be creative about teaching their peers through the technology they love to use? How can students be an ally for teachers in becoming technologically savvy? How can we look more broadly at how students learn and get them to be active participants in the learning process?  How can students and teachers collaborate more by developing great lessons together?

Article: Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — On the eve of a pivotal academic year in Vishal Singh’s life, he faces a stark choice on his bedroom desk: book or computer?

Read the full article at nytimes.com

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