When watching this video I was reminded of a previous post regarding motivation and technology. This video seems to “get it” more in that they note the chalkboard is perhaps the most powerful piece of education technology ever created. One problem with the current powerpoint mentality in post-secondary education is the information density increase – students are bombarded with so much information that the ability to critically consider the information and raise important questions is significantly hindered.
Anyway, this video captures how many college students feel about their courses. While I agree that much of higher-education is out of touch, I do not agree that making everything more digital is the solution. One part of the video specifically mentions the need to multi-task. Unfortunately, the idea of multi-tasking is a myth. I read an article in the January 2008 Reader’s Digest that pointed this problem out. The crux of the matter is that our brains are not actually capable of doing two things at once. What it is capable of is switching back and forth very quickly leading to the illusion of two things at once. Yet, if we are constantly asking our brains to switch back and forth, we are not getting the most out of either activiy. So, while students might claim they need to multi-task (ie: check email during class), teachers and students need to be aware that dividing your brain means a decrease in brain power. Think of your computer. Yes, it can do multiple things at once, but it slows down significantly when the processor is not allowed to focus on one thing. If teachers believe their students need to multi-task and encourage students to do so, they are sending the message that what the class is discussing is not cognitively demanding enough to warrant focused brain energy. What message are you sending to your students?
There is a lot more in this video, I’ll be interested to hear what struck you as interesting.
Addendum: Here is a link to the professor who made the video’s blog post revisiting this video. It provides valuable perspective on how this video was intended. He has some interesting things to say.