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Has society changed?
Old 01-18-2019, 06:13 PM
 
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Are we dealing with a societal change that decreases the short term and long term memory of students? Should there be an occasional test of memory abilities to guide us and change the expectations? Kids are dumping their memory from year to year. Multiplication facts are an example. Kids that master them lose them faster than I have ever witnessed.

If we are devolving into a nation with no memory skills, shouldn't that be something we know that we have to work with and adjust the standards?


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Old 01-18-2019, 06:17 PM
 
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I suppose some would argue that with all the knowledge literally in our pockets, we don't need to memorize things the way we did before.
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Has society changed?
Old 01-18-2019, 06:57 PM
 
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Interesting this came up. I am reading There, There by Tommy Orange and one of his characters says children donít need to memorize anymore because they have the internet. Itís an interesting concept.

Memorizing facts is more than just memorizing information...itís actually exercising the brain.
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Actually, yes...
Old 01-18-2019, 06:59 PM
 
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I just watched a documentary the other day, and they said that the average person now has an attention span of 7 seconds. A goldfish has an attention span of 8.

Of course, I can't remember the name of the documentary, but that's what it said. The blame? Smartphones, the internet, etc.

If I think of the name of the documentary, I'll add the link.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:17 PM
 
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7 seconds seems like quite the exaggeration...but I was going to say that I think technology has definitely made my attention span worse. I'm currently watching TV, posting here, and checking another site on my phone. I can't just sit and watch a show anymore. I get bored and start looking at my computer or phone, even if it's a show I really like! Along the same lines; I was an excellent student but now have a really hard time sitting and paying attention to things like PD. I can't imagine what it's like for kids who have grown up with all of this technology.

I also agree that memorization has become less necessary. When I was growing up, you had to memorize things like people's phone numbers. Now, the only phone numbers I know by heart are mine and my mom's! You used to have to memorize addresses and directions and now you can just look everything up. I sometimes still think about my 6th grade teacher telling me, "What are you going to do, carry around a calculator in your pocket when you grow up?" Well, actually Mrs. H, we all do precisely that now!


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I misquoted
Old 01-18-2019, 07:20 PM
 
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It was actual 8 seconds to a goldfish's 9.

Here's an article from Time magazine: http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/

If you don't want to read the entire article (it's not long, though), here's a direct quote:

"The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain."

Of course, I'm sure there's other info out there that says otherwise...
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Memory
Old 01-19-2019, 04:21 AM
 
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This is a fascinating subject, and I agree with the others that attention spans are shrinking. I definitely think memory is one of those places where "use it or lose it" really does apply!

I'm undecided, though, whether this is a problem we need to solve or an example of evolution we need to adapt to. It's probably a combination of both.
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The career ramifications
Old 01-19-2019, 04:59 AM
 
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Yes, but if this evolutionary change is occurring, why aren't the standards changing to reflect this? Teachers are expected to have a certain amount of recertification credits to keep their teaching status. Why do those that judge us get a free pass from recognizing the changing nature of our students and keep standards the same for a decade?
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Attention span
Old 01-19-2019, 05:01 AM
 
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I could handle the lack of memorization if students could just remember something from one day to the next. Weíve read a book or done an activity and Iíve had some students argue the next day that we never did it! How can you not remember something from one day to the next?
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It's a multifaceted problem
Old 01-19-2019, 06:11 AM
 
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Technology definitely plays a role. I've noticed its effect on me, and there is also science to back this up.

I think sometimes kids are conning teachers and claiming, "we were never taught this" to avoid being challenged. I know for a fact kids are lying about most of this because I know the teachers they've had before. This is really irritating because, as a high school English teacher, I have a large percentage of classes coming to me claiming not to know what a verb is, for example. I know there are teachers who play the game and buy into what they say and teach 4th grade (not to disparage elementary at all) English every year for 90% of the year, leaving only 10% for grade-level instruction. I refuse to play this game.

Students' memories about academic concepts are also a reflection of their priorities. They remember things that are important to them (they never forget their phones or their sports equipment, but they never "remember" to charge their Chromebooks or what we did in class the previous day). They're sleepwalking through class because academics aren't important to them, so they don't remember anything.


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Selective memory
Old 01-19-2019, 07:28 AM
 
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I go through this every day. I teach high school - mostly all sped- and their chrome books are NEVER charged because they conveniently forgot.
However, their phone is always with them and working. They remember their stupid ear bud things, sneakers and their sport uniforms. But they never ever remember their homework or assignments.

I also hear how they never learned about the atom or the cell or any basic concepts in science, but I know this isn't true because I know the middle school teachers absolutely are teaching the material. I tell my students that I can give you all the material and notes, but if you don't sit down and study and memorize certain topics you will not be successful.

It's always going to be my fault no matter what and there is no accountability. It's not worth fighting and admin will not support you no matter what they will say to your face. It annoys me that I have to pass the lazy do-nothing who can barely stay awake for 15 minutes and always has to go to the nurse, bathroom or guidance because of the IEP...but in the end, pass them all and move on to the next round of snowflakes.
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Old 01-19-2019, 09:10 AM
 
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teach high school - mostly all sped- and their chrome books are NEVER charged because they conveniently forgot.
However, their phone is always with them and working. They remember their stupid ear bud things, sneakers and their sport uniforms. But they never ever remember their homework or assignments.
I teach elementary and they forget all the things, whether itís important to them or not. I think itís because their parents never let them suffer the consequences of forgetting. They donít have to remember anything because Mom and Dad will remember for them.
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Memorization and long term memory
Old 01-19-2019, 01:27 PM
 
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For those of us who taught before computers/ internet existed, I would bet most will see the change in the way we teach too.
I wish I could remember when the words rote memorization became bad words in the education field. It was probably the 80's.
If a P was to walk in and see you doing rote memorization of any type of facts, you were deemed to be "not with the times." Also, they'd tell you to teach higher order thinking skills or more globally and skip the facts. Many teachers dumped memorization activities, even memorization of math facts, during that time. You probably remember the words: Drill and Kill.
I see and am frustrated too with the lack of math fact retention in our kids. I get my kids from 2 teachers I know well. Both stress facts, kids learn them, and forget them over the summer before they get to me. About 15-20 yrs ago, I noticed a huge change when it came to math fact memorization. (They wanted quick recall and memorization. Drill and Kill words are no longer used here.)
I think like a PP that memorization is good for the brain's development and other than math facts teachers seldom use it anymore. As kids, we had to do things like memorize 2 page long poems( homework) and recite them every month. We still memorized dates of historical events. ( That is outdated, but kids should know a timeline of events. Many don't.) We did plays with long lines to memorize 2x-3x a year. You pretty much had to memorize the whole play to know when your lines were needed.
I only know 2 people's phone numbers now. A lot of my friends and family have switched numbers a lot though in my defense. I have gotten so used to pressing their names to call that I no longer memorize. Before Smart phones, I would estimate that I knew about 20 phone numbers.
I used to know tons of recipes. Now I almost always look online when cooking. I have to keep a record of birthdays for people that are new to me now or I won't remember them. I do remember the ones of people I have known a long time.
Maybe I have Alzheimer's...IDK I think use it or lose it is true along with memorization is important for part of the brain's development.
Also, I used to ( many yrs ago) give IQ tests frequently. I remember a part of it where people had to see how many numbers they could remember going forwards and backwards. I wonder if that part of the test has been changed or if there is a huge change in abilities for memorizing.
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Old 01-19-2019, 06:37 PM
 
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This is an interesting subject. I completely agree with Haley23 and many other PPs. My teen DD teases me because she knows my cell phone number but I don't know hers. She has had the same # for years now.

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I teach elementary and they forget all the things, whether itís important to them or not. I think itís because their parents never let them suffer the consequences of forgetting. They donít have to remember anything because Mom and Dad will remember for them.
My school wears uniforms & when the kinders forget their sweaters, they almost always say, "My mom didn't give it to me." My response: "It is not your mom's sweater! It is your responsibility."
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Arrgh~ This statement here
Old 01-20-2019, 06:24 AM
 
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Students' memories about academic concepts are also a reflection of their priorities. They remember things that are important to them
ABSOLUTELY! I have MS/HS SpEd kids and is amazes me how much they know about tech stuff, song lyrics, video games, and so on... I tell one student probably weekly that he can remember what he chooses. The evidence is in the stuff he DOES remember.
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