Monday, March 15, 2010

Student's Brains are Wired Differently

I have been reading about how our brains are being transformed by the technological advances we are exposed to in the modern world. Gary SMall, M.D. and Gigi Vorgan have published the book iBrain to provide us with strategies and tips for bridging the brain gap. They define Digital Natives as being able to multi-task, parallel process, and programmed to crave instant gratification. Their brain circuitry is being rewired as they grow up in a digital world; therefore, our classrooms are full of brains not adapting to traditional learning methods. The book covers new addictions and behaviors that have resulted due to the bombardment of technology in our lives.At the close of chapter five the authors state, " we all need to speak the same language- online or off- as well as have the skills to communicate face to face and use our human instincts to guide us." I will update this post upon completing chapters 6-9. As educators I believe it is in our students' best interest that we understand how their brains are at work today.


  1. I look forward to the next update. This is something we will all need to adapt to. As digital immigrants it will take some education on our part. Thank you for the updates!

  2. Sigh...There really is no such thing as "multi-tasking" -- all the brain can actually do is switch attention rapidly from one thing to another, and always at a cost in time and focus. For the negative consequences of switch-tasking, see

    The "craving" for instant gratification is a conditioned response to entering the media world with the primary stance of consumer. When we empower our students to approach media as producers and creators, it's much easier to support them in the critical thinking needed to navigate the information landscape. Please see my piece on "The Myth of the 'Digital Native'" --

    I will take a look at the book you reference, but from the quotes you paraphrase I'm not hopeful...

    Cheers, Fred
    Fred Mindlin
    Associate Director for Technology Integration
    Central California Writing Project
    "Intelligence is knowing what to do when you don't know what to do." -- John Holt