Ok, so attention and multitasking… I am horrible when it comes to multitasking. You all know by now how I Google big words that I don’t know when I’m in class. I hardly ever just work on one thing at a time. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADHD, but it’s probably a pretty fitting diagnosis. I’m qualified to diagnose others with ADHD, but I don’t think I could do that for myself. Anyway, (my point exactly) multitasking… I will start on one assignment and then think about something that needs to be done on another and soon find myself bouncing between 3 or 4 different projects at once. And the worst part is that I know the inefficiency of multitasking (aka polyphasia for those who also like to google big words). I know that for each additional task added on to your workload that performance in each significantly decreases.
We can see in The Myth of the Disconnected Life the dangers of paying attention too much to the wrong things, such as focusing so much on one’s phone that you trip and fall into a fountain. It would appear that the obsession with technology is not a new phenomenon. I appreciated the story of how obsessed people were with the Kaleidascope in 19th century England. That article talks about how people were mesmerized by it. If you are interested in the origin of the word “mesmerized,” it has somewhat of a similar origin based on Franz Anton Mesmer.
One of my favorite videos for attention is this one:
So as you can see, sometimes we need to be more aware of how much attention we are paying to the events in front of us.
As I’ve been looking at these articles for the week and writing up this blog, I am reminded of where our blogging started out this semester. We started with networked learning and how technology affects education and then moved on to mindful learning. We have also covered methods of engaging the imaginations of digital learners. It would seem to me based on this week’s readings that finding a good balance among these topics is important. Technology can greatly facilitate learning, but focusing too much on technology (i.e. not being mindful of our surroundings) can lead to someone walking into a fountain! I’m in favor of taking a digital Sabbath now and then because I greatly appreciate being disconnected now and then. As much as technology is an integral part of my daily life (especially being a student), I appreciate disconnecting from time to time because I find myself noticing so much more about my surroundings. The last vacation I was able to take was a cruise, and I was amazed how many people bought the internet package and were on their phones the whole time. For as much as I multitask, I go on vacation to get away from the rest of the world!
I can see how the majority of the topics for this semester are related to attention in one way or another. Inclusive pedagogy in itself requires quite a bit of attention to detail. Taking time to recognize and be accepting of diversity does require time and energy, but it can create a learning environment well worth the extra attention. Critical pedagogy really seemed to be an adjustment to attention on the part of the student. Instead of having to sit and listen to the professor lecture for hours (hard to pay attention), students are more engaged with each other and thus able to better pay attention.
Ok, so true to my own multitasking, I was able to tie in how many of the different topics of this semester are related to attention (and add in a few tangents as well). I think the main item I’m taking away from this is that technology can be a great tool that helps us accomplish so many tasks at once, but BALANCE is still an important concept to rely on. We have to be able to take some opportunities to pay attention to ourselves, our own well being, and take a break from all that is out there for us to focus on at once. As seen in the video, trying to pay attention to too much can cause you to miss out on what may be more important.