CQ Researcher reports that "Researchers have proved again and again that multitasking, at least as our culture has come to know and love and institutionalize it, is a myth."
But as a Digital Immigrant I can report that I have been multitasking for a while. I can even watch TV and read a comic at the same time. For that matter my great, great, great grandmother could have a conversation while making meat loaf. Even more impressive, my Digital Native friends can talk on the phone, answer a text, play Words with Friends, and update their Facebook status with one hand. Now that's progress.
So for the sake of argument, let's call all those nanosecond switches from one task to another, multitasking. And, as Shakespeare would say, "Therein lies the rub." According to the same CQ Researcher, Digital Natives and savvy Digital Immigrants when "sitting at a computer screen--if they are indeed looking at just one--face multiple open Web browsers, an e-mail server, perhaps an instant-messaging chat or two and myriad other potential tasks among which to toggle." It isn't that Digitals multitask - it's that we switch between tasks a lot faster than we used to. "Technologies in the the last decade not only allow task switching but demand task switching."
What is the effect of all this switching back and forth? As you can probably guess, it's not so good. "Multitasking leads us to do everything a little bit worse all the time."
So I ask all you Dextrous Digital Wizards out there, how many tasks are you doing when writing a paper? Let me guess, responding to this blog is one of them.