Oxford Learning students are helping children in Uganda tell malaria-infected mosquitoes to buzz off by raising funds for BUY-A-NET, a charitable organization that supplies bed netting and medicines to families in Africa.
BUY-A-NET is a volunteer organization based in Kingston, Ontario, Canada that provides World Health Organization (WHO) approved mosquito nets to families in Uganda. For many children in Africa, the basic comforts of life are a luxury. Millions of families live in such extreme conditions of poverty that they are unable to purchase to a simple bed net to prevent to prevent infected insects from biting.
Malaria is a life-threatening parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It kills an African child every 30 seconds. Those who don’t die form the illness can have lasting learning impairments. (WHO: Roll Back Malaria) Yet, Malaria is highly treatable and preventable.
Oxford Learning students have been raising funds for BUY-A-NET by participating in read-a-thons and other fundraisers such as art auctions.
So far Oxford Learning has provided the funds to purchase enough bedding nets to supply multiple villages!
If you would like to support BUY-A-NET with a donation, please visit BUY-A-NET’s website.
Oxford Learning students in Kingston, ON raise funds for
BUY-A-NET with an art action.
A look at multitasking from both sides of the coin…
What is multitasking anyway? Is multitasking good or bad for us? Multitasking is one of those topics that we never seem to be able to decide on. Is it a positive attribute to boast about on resumes, or is it a risky habit that is harmful to those with attention issues? Is there areas in life—at home, in the office, in the classroom—where multitasking is OK, and others areas where it is not? Sure, multitasking can help us accomplish multiple items on a to-do list, but does doing multiple things at the same time affect our ability to do those tasks well?
And what about where students are concerned? Doing multiple tasks at a time must influence how they learn and the information that they retain…or does it?
Let’s take a look at multitasking from a pro-con approach:
The PROs of Multitasking:
- It is easy to switch mental focus when doing simple tasks, allowing people to do multiple things at once. For example: at home, talking on the phone while making dinner and sweeping the floor; At work, listening to radio, writing an email, talking on the phones.
- Multitasking can help you learn how to deal with distractions and interruptions—because life doesn’t stop happening just because you are busy.
- Multitasking allows progress on multiple tasks, even if the progress is minimal. Helps move several projects/chores/assignments toward a single deadline.
- Multitasking helps you develop the ability to cope when there is lots of commotion going on around you. It helps develop the ability to filter out the excess.
- Society is continually more and more technologically wired. The ability to use multiple technologies simultaneously will keep people of all ages with adaptable, relevant, and employable.
- When deadlines loom at the office and in the classroom, it is better to complete portions of all tasks, than to only complete one. In the classroom, part marks add up to better grades than no marks at all.
The CONs Of Multitasking:
- Tasks that require deeper concentration are more difficult to switch between. Research shows that the actual act of switching between two things actually takes longer mentally. That’s because our brain assigns rules to how we do something, and switching between tasks means closing one set of rules and opening another.
- Interruptions—a ringing phone, the chime of an instant message—can disrupt train of thought making it difficult to return to the original task.
- Multitasking often results in busywork—doing a lot, but accomplishing nothing. Whether in the office or in the classroom multitasking creates a drop in efficiency.
- Constant distractions can lead to frustration and loss of attention. Instead of accomplishing much, very little gets done. Interruptions are especially difficult for children who have attention deficiencies and are only just learning how to activate their internal filtering mechanisms.
- The more technologically savvy we become, the less we tend to use basic, old-fashioned social skills. Some companies are even a taking an anti-technology stance and implementing email-free days to force employees to develop improved problem solving and teamwork.
- Instead of using technology as tool to multitask, it is used as a distraction. What would appear to be multitasking is really procrastination. Ideally, multi-tasking should accomplish many tasks simultaneously but instead many projects end up half complete.
- The brain is the ultimate multitasker. It computes millions of message from neurons at a single time. But just like any other muscle, it can be taxed and get tired. Known as executive function, the brain’s ability to make multiple decisions can easily tire it out thus making it a less-effective decision maker.
This list is by no means complete, but, at this point, it seems that the cons of multitasking are just a little bit more heavily-weighted than the pros. As educators, Oxford Learning advocates that students, especially those with attention issues focus on a single thing at a time—at least until they develop the ability to filter out distractions and learn how to focus.
What do you think?
A list in fives
5 things to do for your BODY this summer:
- Climb a tree
- Swim in a lake
- Go for a hike
- Ride a bike
- Get a good night’s sleep every night
Five things to do for your BRAIN this summer:
- Read a classic novel
- Learn five new words and use them as often as possible
- Play games that challenge your mind
- Keep a scrapbook of your daily activities and wildlife observations
- Start a short story and add a new paragraph every day
5 things to learn and do TOGETHER as a family:
- Learn the names of trees in your area
- Start a collection of rocks or seashells or anything that you can collect together
- Identify birds that you commonly see
- Learn how to tie a knot
- Take a hike at a new trail
5 things to do this summer to Get Ready for the next school year:
- Establish a back-to-school routine. Begin following school day bedtimes and morning routines well in advance of back to school for an easy transition back to the classroom.
- Turn off the TV. Research has shown that watching TV before bed over-stimulates the brain and prevents sleep.
- Get organized. Time management is a learned skill, not acquired one. Use a family calendar to stay on top of appointments and schedules all summer long.
- Keep reading. Reading continually improves reading comprehension skills and develops vocabulary.
- Don’t run on autopilot. With school closed for the summer, kids can easily fall behind. To prevent this, kids should engage in some sort of learning or other mentally stimulating activity throughout the summer to keep their minds sharp and always ready to learn.