The Redeye Complex
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Continuous Partial Attention.
The Globe and Mail has an article on the challenges of teaching students that are more wired (distracted) than ever. Some good quotes and ideas to think about.
Distractions, of course, are nothing new to students. There have always been sarcastic notes to pass, important doodles to draw, hangovers to recover from, and classmates to ogle, but the competition for student attention has never been as fierce as it is today. This state of over-stimulation fed by constant connectivity leads to a phenomenon dubbed "continuous partial attention" by Linda Stone, a lecturer and former Microsoft executive. Her thesis is that the need that digital workers and students feel to monitor everything at once is driven by a constant fear that they might miss something important. The result is a high level of stress, accompanied by an inability to devote full attention to what is happening in front of them.
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