The younger generation uses technology in the same ways as older people — and is no better at multitasking.
That’s the assertion of a recent opinion piece in Nature. It caught my eye, partly no doubt, because I tend to agree, at least to a point. The article was prompted by the release of a paper by European academics Paul A.Kirschner and Pedro De Bruyckere, “The myths of the digital native and the multitasker.” Highlights from the paper include:
- Information-savvy digital natives do not exist.
- Learners cannot multitask; they task switch which negatively impacts learning.
- Educational design assuming these myths hinders rather than helps learning.
A key point is that being immersed in digital technology does not automatically equate to being technologically savvy. I have observed this in students in online courses I teach. They use technology constantly, but they can be quite naive about it. They use technology the way I drive a car—I know how to make it go and how to make it stop, but I have only vague ideas about how a car works.
What do you think?