Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Wallis, C. (2010). The impacts of media multitasking on children’s learning and development: Report from a research seminar, New York, NY: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

New technology sometimes brings change that is so swift and so sweeping, that the impact and implications are hard to grasp. So it is with the rapid expansion of media use by children and adults—at work and at play, alone and in groups, for ever larger portions of their waking hours. Media multitasking—engaging in more than one media activity at a time—has rapidly become a way of life for American youth, accord- ing to a 2005 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (Roberts, Foehr, & Rideout, 2005), and yet little is known about how this behavior affects their learning and development, their ability to attend, to plan, to think, and to relate to other people. The same may be said for adults, many of whom have taken to media multitasking to the point of “crackBerry” obsession. Aside from the recent alarming reports about the dangers of cell phone use while driving1 or the impact of web surfing on worker productivity, little is known about the larger implications of this now ubiquitous behavior. To begin to address this gap in knowledge and to frame a coherent research agenda, a multidisciplinary group of scholars in the emerging field of multitasking assembled for a one-day seminar on media multitasking and its impact on children’s learning and development at Stanford University on July 15, 2009.

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