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How Multitasking May Impact Learning.

Hack Education

Multitasking: it may be a productivity buzzword, but is it actually a valuable skill or is it a damaging distraction? There are numerous claims about whether or not the ability to juggle several projects simultaneously and switch back and forth between tasks is good or bad — for productivity, for cognition, for memory. And a new study released this week adds some more data to the debate, particularly in light of how multitasking may impact learning.

Professors Rey Junco and Sheila Cotten will present a paper at the Oxford Internet Institute this week that examines how multitasking impacts college students’ GPA. According to their findings, using Facebook and texting while studying were negatively associated with GPA. Interestingly, emailing while studying was positively associated.

“Engaging in Facebook use or texting while trying to complete schoolwork may tax students’ capacity for cognitive processing and preclude deeper learning,” they write, “while emailing may be directly related to learning. Our research indicates that the type and purpose of ICT use matters in terms of the educational impacts of multitasking.”

Read more about multitasking on Audrey Watters' Blog, here.

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