100% focus 10% of the time

Lectures are a place of learning. Pfft, not according to the thousand tabs I have open on my computer screen. Buzzfeed quizzes is telling me what magical creature I am. Facebook is letting me message everyone. Pinterest is telling me how to make the Mary Poppins costume I’ll be wearing soon. Amazon is showing me how cheap I can get the parrot umbrella, then breaking my heart when the cost of postage is mentioned. So I skip over to wikihow and see how I can make it all myself.


I’m doing all this while trying to focus on what our lecturers are saying, but I find that I don’t actually take in what they are saying while I’m off planning what I’m going to wear to my friend’s costume party. According to Sana et. al. multitasking during class time, or lectures in my case, can be detrimental to my learning and the learning of those around me who are in view of my screen. But what if rather than looking at costume ideas I was researching further resources for the lecture topic? Would I and my nosy peers be all the better for it?

Jeong et. al. syas that 76% of the time that high school and uni students use their devices they are multitasking. This means that most of the time students my not be listening to what they are being taught. But it also means I’m not alone. Christine Rosen from The New Atlantis writes that multitasking is a myth, we can’t actually perform two or more tasks simultaneously at 100%. We only believe that we can.

I know that I can’t focus on what the lecturer is teaching me and message my mates at the same time, but I don’t believe it’s entirely detrimental to my education. It’s when “multitasking” is a threat to your life and those around you that we need to question whether an audience who believes they can text and drive is really what we want in society.

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