According to a consulting firm that probably gets paid big bucks for researching such stuff, the major problem of 2008 will be “information overload”.
Wasn’t that supposed to be a big problem in 2007?
According to another group that also studies how technology affects society, “information overload” is an adult problem.
But young people don’t seem to have (yet, anyway) developed the same sense of aggravation toward technology that forces them to multitask. Many choose to do so, in fact. The Kaiser Family Foundation found in a study this year that most junior high and high school students train themselves early in the dark arts of multitasking, with most listening to music or watching TV while they read books or surf the Internet. 30 percent of students even multitask while doing their homework.
And yet another writer says that there’s no such thing as multitasking and that the “human brain turns out to be bad at rapid task switching”.
I guess young people are simply better at knowing when to divert their attention to another source of input, albeit losing productivity in the process.
However, I don’t think our big problem next year will be too much information. It’s more that too many people don’t have the skills to manage those large amounts of data in the first place.
We don’t teach those skills in school and our students are developing their own techniques for managing the flow of information through their lives.
So, how much of what their teachers add to the flow goes into the discard pile? :-)