When Duke University gave free iPods to the freshman class in 2003, critics said they were wasting their money. Yet when the students in practically every discipline invented academic uses for the music players, suddenly the idea could be seen in a new light - as an innovative way to turn learning on its head.
Using cutting-edge research on the brain, Cathy N. Davidson show how attention blindness has produced one of our society's greatest challenges: while we acknowledge the great changes of the digital age, most of us still toil in schools and workplaces designed for the last century.
Now You See It introduces us to visionaries and groundbreaking ideas from schools with curriculums built around video games to companies that train workers using virtual environments. A refreshingly optimistic argument and a bold embrace of our connected, collaborative future.
©2011 Cathy N. Davidson (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
mostly nonfiction listener
1 - The Academic Connection: Davidson is the Duke professor/administrator behind the original iPod program. Back in 2004, Davidson and her colleagues cooked up a plan to give each freshman an iPod, and then an iPod to every member of any class that came up with an academic experiment around the technology. We might not remember just how controversial this experiment was, or the degree to which Duke was criticized for wasting money and getting away from the core educational mission of a university. Turns out, the iPod experiment succeeded on numerous fronts, including launching student driven podcasting, class recording and sharing, learning object creation, and innovative science and language applications. Davidson recounts the iPod experiment in the book, as well as other experiments that she has been involved in as an administrator and in her own courses. She is a risk taker, an attribute often in short supply amongst our academic leaders.
2 - Brain Science and The Big Picture: One of Davidson's big points in Now You See It is that we continue to run our institutions, our schools and workplaces, as if we still lived in the industrial economy in which they were originally built to serve. We continue to act as if information was scarce, and that work had to regulated, monitored, and packaged around the needs of production. Digital tools, mobile devices, and ubiquitous web based communication give us new tools to accomplish our (increasingly collaborative and brain based) work. Research consistently demonstrates that we perform better when we are creatively engaged in tasks in which we are intrinsically motivated. Yet we continue to insist on end-of-term grades (postsecondary), end-of-year high stakes tests (secondary/primary - No Child Left Behind), cubicles and 9-to-5 face time.
3 - An Antidote to the Anti-Digital: Davidson has zero time for the "dumbest generation" or the "Internet is making us stupid" arguments. She references cognitive and brain science research to demonstrate the plasticity of our brains to cope with and thrive in our digitally stimulated environments. She talks about educational institutions that have harnessed game-based principles to create immersive (and highly successful) learning environments. Davidson profiles workplaces that have thrown out the industrial age rule of command and control, of management as supervision rather than leadership and support, detailing how these employers achieve both high profits and high staff retention.
I'm so pleased that Now You See It came out of our academic world, written by someone who works within our system. Her critique of higher education is that of an insider who wants to reform and improve the system, not blow it up. I hope her next book looks more critically and with greater depth at a wider range of academic institutions - that she spends some time away from (the admittedly gorgeous) Duke campus. It would be fascinating to hear how Davidson thinks higher ed can utilize the digital tools, research on brain science, and the willingness to take risks and experiment that advocates to fundamentally redesign our industry.
Until that book comes out, I'd put Davidson as number one on the list of authors to bring to your campus - you can ask her yourself what we might be missing.
Cathy Davidson hits the proverbial nail on the head with her new book Now You See It: How Brain Science of Attention. Interested in multitasking? Want to know more about perception? Concerned about kids and their learning? This book may just be for you. The focus of the book is on attention blindness and this is the topic that caught my interest. Essentially, she says that what we see and understand in our daily living is a function of what we know before an encounter. Every page is filled with insights readily applicable to every reader. Happily, she puts multitasking and the education of young people into perspective. Her arguments are persuasive and the research is clearly available to the reader. This is one terrific book and I hope to see more coming from her pen in the near future. The reading of Laural Merlington is excellent.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
There are interesting insights and ideas in this book. The author is enthusiastically positive and generally positive about technology. There are a number of examples of new educational concepts which are quite interesting, but the commonality of the successful educational systems seem to be engaged and extraordinary educators and not the technology. This was worth the listen, but the narrow and unswervingly positive outlook is a bit hard to accept.
This is a great listen and one of my favourites. It is so interesting I felt inclined to share my new knowledge after each section.
There are so many moments in this book that stick out in my mind, including the experiments with the iPod, the reference to the ball-throwing film, the course on The Brain on the Internet, and the wonderful picture formed of Ichabod Crane being dropped into a modern day classroom. There are so many more - every section really.
I haven't listened to Laural perform before, but would enjoy hearing her again.
I was surprised actually that this book made me chuckle out loud and then, of course, I needed to share.
I was recommending this book to everyone from all walks of life and all ages after only listening to the first couple of hours.As a retired educator who has been proclaiming many of the truths in this book for years, it has spurred me to action, although I am at a loss of what that could be right now. I am looking forward to figuring that out with some friends. I would love to take a course from Cathy Davidson. Absolutely wonderful.
...master of none
The author started out well by explaining the possibilities of new technology, knocking down misconceptions, but then she fails to grapple with the challenges of the new technological situation. It's like it was all sweetness and light. This is never the case with new technologies.
The barrage of buzz words like connectivity and collaboration, which ended up obscuring rather than revealing emerging realities.
The narration was just fine.
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