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New Tech’s Impact on Memory

And This is How YOU Can Take Advantage

Technology has been of tremendous help to the human race in this age. Back in the 20thcentury, people have to learn a lot of things by heart. A lot of day to day things have to be committed to memory. This is not because those who had to wanted to, but because there was hardly any alternative. Nowadays, we have phonebooks on mobile phones. However, before there were mobile phones, it was not easy carrying the large phonebook around. In fact, there were few personal phonebooks. There were family phonebooks and all others though.

More, there were three key things in education some centuries ago – those were the three “r”: read, (w)rite, and (a)rithmetic. Students had to use commit a lot to memories. However, in this decade, we have the Google Brain Chip which basically has all the student would have needed to commit to memory.

Nowadays, we are expected to use our memory to store much better things than phone numbers and all the kinds of phobias there are. The brain could be used to do better things and brings up new ideas.

According to a research, “Because young brains are still developing, their frequent exposure to technology is actually wiring their brains differently from the brains of children in previous generations. As these so-called “digital natives” interact with their environment, they are learning how to scan for information efficiently and quickly. Technology allows them to be more creative and to access multiple sources of information, practically simultaneously. But all this comes at a cost.”

Technology is good but there are side effects to the overuse or over reliance on it. Learning requires quite a lot of attention. Without it, all other aspects of learning, such as reasoning, memory, problem solving, and creativity, may be hard to reach.

How children develop attention is largely determined by their environment. Modern technology has placed children, and people in general, into a world where the demands for their attention have increased dramatically. Distraction has taken the place of consistent attention, and, as we noted earlier, the capacity of working memory appears to be shrinking. Their brains are becoming accustomed to, and are rewarded for, constantly switching tasks, at the expense of sustainable attention. Things pop up on the computer – ads, for instance, grab attention faster than the content we are looking for.

This constant switching from one task to another has a penalty. When students switch their attention, the brain has to reorient itself to the new task, further taxing neural resources. And because of working memory’s limited capacity, some of the information from the first task is lost as new information from the second task moves in. Furthermore, the constant switching causes cognitive overload: a condition where the flow of information exceeds the brain’s ability to process and store it. As a result, the students cannot gain a deep understanding of the new learning or translate it into conceptual knowledge.

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