This is an especially important piece of information considering that using such technologies, including a hands-free phone while driving is legal in most of the states in the U. Overall, research shows that digital technologies can enhance learning when used as educational tools, as they are affordable and extremely portable.However, research consistently shows that inappropriate multitasking with digital technologies is harmful to student performance.
Much of this multitasking is not inherently coupled or coordinated, except by the user.
For example, a user may be browsing the Web, listening to music playing video games, using e-mail, or talking on the phone while watching TV.
A large review of studies on driving while media multitasking showed that using a hands-free phone while driving is just as dangerous as using a hand-held phone, and results in many different driving mistakes including missing stop signs, forgetting to reduce speed when necessary, and following too closely, among many others. Talking to a person on a cell-phone while driving is not the same as having a conversation with a passenger, as adult passengers (but not children) often warn the driver of possible dangers, or at least stop talking when the driving conditions are tough, to let the driver focus on the road.
Media multitasking with other technologies, including MP3 players, voice-based email, the music system, and even the GPS while driving is just as distracting as using a phone. Students can use technologies in the classroom to multi-task in two specific ways when given the choice: For on-task purposes that supplement learning and ease the learning task, or for off-task purposes such as entertainment of social interaction.
The three control groups included one group of students who were free to use any amount of technologies as they wished including any on-task or off-task purposes.
The other two groups were on-task note-takers who took notes either on paper or on a laptop.
Students use technology for many diverse on-task purposes including taking notes, conducting literature searches, viewing video/audio files, creating and viewing spreadsheets and Power Point slides, completing online tests and assignments, and even texting friends to ask questions about course material.
Outside of the classroom, students frequently use technology such as instant messaging to communicate with other students, coordinate group work, share important files and homework, and form peer support groups to vent and improve motivation. This is large because at the grade school and high school levels, technology is integrated into the design of the course and the teachers provide the necessary structure and supervision.
This is unlike people from older generations who understand, and openly admit, that they are not very good at multitasking, who see multitasking as difficult, and who therefore don't multitask nearly as much as young people.
Multitasking behavior in the workforce has been increasing steadily since the 1990s, as people have easier and therefore faster access to information, and communication, through smart technologies that also become cheaper over time.