Disruption of sleep

The importance for humans of sleep for the consolidation stage has also been demonstrated by researchers interested in children’s learning.

For example, adolescent sleep often suffers from technology use. In one study, a group of young teenagers were asked to vary their use of technology before immediately doing a ‘pseudo’ homework task that involved memorising facts (Dworak et al., 2007). On one evening students experienced no technology, on another they watched television between 6 and 7 pm, and on another they played computer games during this period.

Only playing computer games, which are more physiologically arousing than TV, significantly reduced slow-wave sleep when the children when to bed a few hours later. This is the type of sleep is known to be important for consolidating memory and, the next day, only playing computer games significantly reduced what the children could remember of their ‘homework’.

Questioning the research

Take a look at the abstract (summary) for the research paper by Dworak et al. (2007).

What questions might you have about this research and its applicability to your context? Does this support the argument that ‘sleep often suffers from technology use’?

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This article is from the free online course:

The Science of Learning

National STEM Learning Centre