On March 19th, the Contemporary Learning and Interdisciplinary Research (CLAIR) program faculty, led by Dr. Kristen Turner and Dr. Molly Ness, sponsored a mini-conference titled Engaging Learners in a Digital Age.
The conference began with keynote speaker Dr. Daniel Willingham of the University Virginia, whose talk Are New Technologies Changing the Way Kids Think? addressed three questions:
- Does exposure to digital technologies shorten attention spans?
- Do kids today have to multitask?
- Why are they so frantic about their phones?
Of the keynote address, Dr. Ness said,
“As a teacher educator, Willingham drove home the idea that we as teachers need to find ways to grab the attention of students who are constantly bombarded with the social currency of information.
Students today face a barrage of distractions by technology and the information age. These distractions force students not to multitask, but to shift their attentions. Willingham presented the idea that today’s digital technologies changes students’ attitudes about what is worthy of sustained attention.”
The conference continued with breakout sessions led by GSE faculty and ended with a group debrief where participants reflected on evolving technologies’ effects on education.
Thank you to Dr. Willingham, the CLAIR faculty, and all who participated in the event!