With the incessant cry for attention from technology, and as we begin to introduce more technology into teaching and learning, perhaps there is a need to consider how we also need to think about managing the potential distraction.
While I certainly do not remember being taught about paying attention as a student, it was explicitly mentioned as a quality that could, and ought to, be taught when I was first introduced to the Character First program many years ago. Attentiveness as the first of many basic character traits – it was an idea that caught my attention.
Attention is costly and with the increasing amount of distractions from notifications, entertainment, work and more, inattentiveness is getting even more costly. No wonder then that attention is something we have to pay.
Even CEOs are grappling with fighting the temptation of watching the latest cat video, with some using apps such as Stayfocusd and Evernote.
In his book Consider, Daniel shares about how Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft, has think weeks in which he would be away from family and day-to-day operations. He would spend the time alone and he would read, to “consume information and formulate opinions”. The heading for this section of the book reads: forcing a week to read, learn and think. Deliberate intention is indeed needed and an exertion of will for this to happen.
In the face of the avalanche of data, we all could do with some think time – teachers and and students alike. How can we carve out such attention spaces in our harried teaching and learning schedule?