Multitasking, iPads and learning

Schools get in the media for tuning to iPads, the device will allow multitasking this fall, and brain scientists worry of the effects of multitasking on learning. Adopting a new technology early means playing with fire?

The iPad has been an instant hit for millions of consumers following its recent launch. It has also been a great success in the IMD classroom. “After having piloted the iPad in a partnership program with Allianz Global Investors at the beginning of May, I am convinced that this device will revolutionize executive education,” stated IMD Professor Bettina Büchel. “The feedback from IMD Faculty, staff and the participants was overwhelmingly positive.”

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Apple: Multitasking coming to the iPhone this summer, iPad in the fall
One of the biggest criticisms leveled at the iPhone and the iPad — that it can’t run third-party apps in the background — will be fixed at last [when] the major OS revision will arrive this summer for the iPhone, while iPad users will have to wait until the fall.

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Russell A. Poldrack, the director of the Imaging Research Center and professor of psychology and neurobiology at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote: “Our research has shown that multitasking can have an insidious effect on learning, changing the brain systems that are involved so that even if one can learn while multitasking, the nature of that learning is altered to be less flexible. This effect is of particular concern given the increasing use of devices by children during studying.”

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