Media Multi-tasking

We live in a world that is rich in technology—cell phones, MP3 players, video gaming systems, television, and the internet have changed our lives. Unlike previous generations, the exposure of the Millennial generation began at birth and the world, for this generation, has always been rich in technology.

According to Mark Prensky, this exposure has changed the wiring of the Millennial brain and, as a consequence, the learning styles of students of this generation are different. Prensky (2001) argues that our teaching methods must change to accommodate these differences. The purpose of this article is to provide a critical examination of this argument.

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Our Survey Results

Participant in Best and colleagues (2010) sample reported media multi-tasking for an average of 10.06 hours a day. Among these undergraduate students, they commonly listened to music, watched television, and used on-line chat / text messaging while they performed a variety of other tasks.
We also asked participants about how they use a variety of Web 2.0 tools for education and personal purposes. We found that overall, undergraduates don't report using a wide variety of different technologies (in spite of the fact that they report spending significant time using media to multi-task). In educational settings, the most common tools are facebook, text messaging, and instant messaging. In personal settings, participants reporting using facebook, text messaging, instant messaging, video downloads, and creating a web page.