Henry Jenkins has a word of warning about the program though, he suggests the documentary ‘panders to the biases’ of viewers. His analysis of how students multitask is important and comments about the dangers of envisaging a ‘national norm’ sage.
My own position on multitasking depends, of course, on context.
Personally, if I really need to complete a task quickly, and well, it is best to focus on the job at hand. I rarely do this though. Usually, I multitask. Word processing, email, twitter, Facebook, the kids, my partner, music, iPhone, occasionally tv in the mix too. Basically, it makes life more pleasant. I ‘work’ on several things at once. I am listening to the end of the documentary as I type now – and tweeting.
I use my iPhone in meetings and while at conferences but put it aside when I really need to concentrate or etiquette demands. I find the (hyper)connectivity makes me feel happy.
In my classes, students are not permitted to listen to music or use their phones. It is a simple rule. Students compose, discuss, listen, create, read, collaborate, present, synthsesise, analyse, evaluate and laugh. We usually have internet access. They are free to listen to music in their own time and multitask all they want and often, other teachers permit this in their classes too but I have felt for many years that we can do without this in my English class. We need to concentrate!
Personally, I prefer to read a novel in quiet but that is for my own enjoyment more than anything else. I used to always play music reading but not anymore. Often though, I have a break and use my iPhone to check twitter, Facebook and email – or look something up.
The conclusion, increasingly being reached, maybe simplistically, is that multistaskers are bad at multitasking. Read more here and here. However, I suspect that, like most things, it is in the balance.
Your views on multitasking?