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Multitasking: Adapt or Ignore? (Heads Up Lisa Porter)

By Keith Cowing
February 26, 2007

Teens Can Multitask, But What Are Costs?, Washington Post

“Researchers say there isn’t any answer yet to whether multitasking helps, hurts or has no effect on teens’ development. “Given that kids have grown up always doing this, it may turn out that they are more skilled at it. We just don’t know yet,” said Russell Poldrack, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles, who co-authored a study that examined multitasking and brain activity.”

Future Workforce Must Be Cultivated Now to Maintain U.S. Aerospace Leadership, AIAA

“I don’t think that we need to adapt our educational strategies to the short attention span of today’s students,” stated Dr. Porter. “Rather, I think that we need to teach them discipline and perseverance. We need to coach them not to expect instant gratification, but to recover from failure and keep going – a quality shared by productive aerospace engineers.”

Editor’s note: While the jury is still out with regard to the way that younger people do things (i.e. study, learn) it is quite clear that these multitasking tendencies are pervasive – and that culture (theirs and ours) is being driven by – and adapting to – them. Alas, contrary to what Lisa Porter said, this is not a phenomenon limited to young people.

The next time you sit in a NASA meeting with a dozen or so people, look around to see just how many people are fiddling with their Crackberrys while someone else is talking at their PowerPoint slides – slides that no one is looking at.

Lisa Porter has hear head in the sand, earlier post

More Insight into the Next Generation of Space Explorers (Heads Up Lia Porter), earlier post

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.