For many, multitasking—checking emails, text messaging and Facebooking simultaneously—is a highly-valued practice. However, research conducted by Stanford University professor Clifford Nass, Ph.D., and his colleagues finds that consistently juggling multiple, unrelated tasks greatly reduces the ability to focus on critical tasks such as reading and writing.
“High media multitasking is bad,” said Nass, during his lecture at California State University, Northridge’s third annual Technology Fair.
Nass discussed “Media Multitasking: How it’s Changing You and Your Students” at the May 29 event hosted by the Division of Information Technology in the University Student Union’s Grand Salon. His lecture elaborated on laboratory and field experimental studies conducted by Stanford researchers that started in 2009 and continues today. The research found that people who regularly engaged with multiple forms of unrelated electronic information have difficulty maintaining focus, memorizing relevant content or switching from one job to another as well as those who complete one or related tasks at a time. He suggested that students and staff can enhance their performance if they limit high levels of multitasking.
Nass was one of two speakers who addressed about 150 faculty and staff at this year’s fair. The fair offered faculty and staff an opportunity to learn about the latest tech trends used in higher education. In addition to the speakers, several companies participated in a technology vendor showcase.
Laurie Burruss from lynda.com discussed “Learning Outside the Classroom” in an afternoon session. Lynda.com, is a provider of online video tutorials in various subjects, currently available to CSUN faculty and staff.
As a full-time faculty member at Pasadena City College, Burruss said lynda.com allows all members of the campus community to pick tools relevant to their jobs. Her lecture focused on how employees can continue to learn from online tools.
“The annual technology fair is a reflection of what technology really means to all of us,” said Hilary Baker, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. She noted that every college and office was represented at the event, showing how widely technology is used across campus.
Taehyun Kim, an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism, said the tech fair was great.
“It makes us think about ongoing issues with technology and ways we can overcome them and use it to our advantage,” Kim said.
Other vendors at the event included Box, OnBase, Echo360, Apple, HP and Dell. These companies are already providing services to CSUN or will be providing services in the near future.