Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

Cathy N.Davidson – Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

Steve Wheeler is convinced that we need new approaches for digitally remastered learners

We are constantly reminded that we live in an age in which digital media, mobile phones and social media are profoundly influencing communication, business, entertainment and learning. Not a day goes by without some mention of Facebook, Twitter or smartphones in mainstream media. The pace of change fomented by these technologies is rapid and unrelenting, giving rise to new and emerging literacies, connections, behaviours and risks. And of course many academics wish to know how these changes will affect university life.

Clearly, technology in all its forms is playing an ever-greater role in the lives of young people. Universities therefore need to pay attention to the impact that the appropriate deployment of digital tools can have on extending, enhancing and enriching the student learning experience, both on and off campus.

Moreover, sustained exposure to such a range of digital media demands a different kind of attention than we have previously required. This is the premise of Now You See It, whose author, Cathy Davidson, may be remembered as the Duke University academic who caused a bit of a stir in 2003 when she promoted the free distribution of Apple’s brand-new iPod devices to an entire first-year population of 2,000 students. There followed an inevitable outcry from more conservative quarters of the academic community, who voiced the opinion that giving students “just another device for listening to music” was a profligate waste of money. Many argued that the iPod had no serious pedagogical application, while an editorial in The Chronicle, the Duke student newspaper, declared: “It is an unnecessarily expensive toy that does not become an academic tool simply by being thrown into a classroom.”


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