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Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21s T Century Paperback – 31 Jul 2012
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"In her galvanic new book, Ms. Davidson, one of the nation's great digital minds, has written an immensely enjoyable omni-manifesto. Rooted in . . . rigorous history, philosophy and science, this book . . . doubles as an optimistic, even thrilling, summer read." -- Virginia Hefferman, New York Times"A remarkable new book Now You See It offers a fresh and reassuring perspective on how to manage anxieties about the bewildering pace of technological change. . . . Her work is the most powerful yet to insist that we can ... manage the impact of these changes." -- Anya Kamenetz, Fast Company "The author takes us on a journey through contemporary classrooms and offices to describe how they are changing--or, according to her, should change. . . .Now You See It is filled with instructive anecdotes and genuine insights."
-- Mark Changizi, Wall Street Journal "Her book 'Now You See It' celebrates the brain as a lean, mean, adaptive multitasking machine that -- with proper care and feeding -- can do much more than our hidebound institutions demand of it. . . Davidson is such a good storyteller, and her characters are well drawn." -- Christopher Chabris, New York Times "Davidson has produced an exceptional and critically important book, one that is all-but-impossible to put down and likely to shape discussions for years to come." [Top 10 Science Book, Fall 2011] -- Publishers Weekly "Humorous, poignant, entertaining, endearing, touching and challenging. It is a book I would happily recommend to anyone engaged in teaching at any level ... It is devised to convince readers that the human mind is ready for the next quantum advance into our collective future." -- Steve Wheeler, Book of the Week, Times Higher Education "Practice Collaboration by Difference: This idea is stolen directly from Cathy N. Davidson's marvelous book, Now You See It. . . .If innovation is our goal then we must pay careful attention to the diversity of the people around our project tables." -- Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed "A preview of the future from an educational innovator... it is becoming clear that our minds are capable of multitasking to a degree far beyond what the 20th-century assembly-line worker or middle manager was trained to do...[Davidson's] points are worth pondering." -- Kirkus "There is an emerging consensus that higher education has to change significantly, and Davidson makes a compelling case for the ways in which digital technology, allied with neuroscience, will play a leading role in that change." -- William Pannapacker, Chronicle of Higher Education "[Davidson] makes a provocative case for radical educational and business reforms. . . . Davidson's call to experiment with digital schemes that turn students and workers into motivated problem solvers rings as clear as a bell atop a little red schoolhouse." -- Bruce Bower, Science News "The book's purpose and strength are in detailing the important lessons we can glean from the online world. If Davidson is right, 21st-century society will move away from categorizing people based on standardized tests, which are crude measures of intelligence at best. Instead we will define new metrics, ones that are better aligned with the skills needed to succeed in the shifting global marketplace. And those who cannot embrace this multidisciplinary world will simply be left behind." -- Brian Mossop, Scientific American "Davidson's claim that mono-tasking (the idea that a person can focus on one single task at hand) is an unrealistic model of how the brain works, seems strikingly persuasive. Davidson also calls for a reform in education . . . [that] helps kids become multitasking, problem-solving thinkers."
-- Sophie Duvernoy, LA Weekly "The technological changes around us are of unprecedented proportions... In this book Cathy Davidson integrates findings from psychology, attention, neuroscience, and learning theory to help us get a glimpse of the future and more importantly a better understanding of our own individual potential." -- Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational "Now You See It is simply fantastic. Only Cathy Davidson could pull off such a sweeping book. It is about so much more than just education or even learning. It is about a way of being. Her book and stories are incredibly important for the true arc of life learning and for constantly becoming!" -- John Seely Brown, author of A New Culture of Learning "Cathy Davidson has one of the most interesting and wide ranging minds in contemporary scholarship, a mind that ranges comfortably over literary arts, literacy, psychology, and brain science... Her ambitious and timely book is certain to attract a lot of attention and to catalyze many discussions." -- Howard Gardner, Harvard University "One cutting edge of educational practice is participatory learning...and one frontier of brain research is what is happening to our attention in the always-on era. Cathy Davidson is a natural to bring together these neuroscientific and educational themes."
-- Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs and Net Smart
About the Author
Cathy N. Davidson codirects the annual HASTAC/MacArthur Digital Media and Learning competitions. She holds distinguished chairs in English and interdisciplinary studies at Duke University and has published more than a dozen books. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.
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It remains to be seen what the science of attention will actually teach us. Within attention studies, there is a growing interest in effortless attention. Although people assumed that greater effort would yield greater attention, the most productive attention turns out to be of the effortless kind. If attention is effortless--people used to worry that it was unwilled--then what kinds of control can we have over it? Although we perceive it as effortless, is that in fact true? One might explore how much glucose is consumed in allegedly effortless attention compared to concentrated attention. If the best attention is effortless, does it really mean that when students wander off task it is really the fault of a bad teacher? All Davidson has done here is to move the problem from the student--attention deficit makes the student someone to be medicated--to the teacher--now poor attention is the fault of the teacher who does not turn to the internet to rethink his teaching. What the science of attention studiously avoids is the unconscious.
A lot about education does need rethinking. But Davidson needs to rethink the extent to which the internet achieves a breakdown of old hierarchies. Yes, users have more control over content. What about the digital divide, the gap between schools like Duke that have the Gates Foundation to hand over 10 million dollars to explore technology and education and others? Does a decrease in hierarchy mean that hierarchy no longer exists? It does not help make her case that a lot of her examples are things no real educator truly believes in like multiple choice tests or intelligence tests.
Ultimately is attention deficit simply an unappreciated form of multi-tasking? Wishful thinking abounds here. Nonetheless, the book is an eloquent call to rethink the work of education in light of web 2.0.
Now I have to go apologize to my gamer son, shake up my workplace again, rewrite my resume, reframe my interpretation of the world around me, look up a lot of resources Cathy Davidson named in the book, and probably play a video game or two. This can't possibly be pleasant. But it will be. My sincere thanks to the author for making me see things differently.