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Now You See It

Cathy Davidson's Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century, (Viking, 2011), out of Duke University, explores concepts of "attention blindness" and "collective learning" and their relationships to effective leadership to emphasize "rigor" vs. "vigor."

Davidson demonstrates in multiple ways that we are attention blind. She makes a somewhat novel argument that, contrary to popular thought, modern technology isn't compromising our attention any more than it is an inherent part of human existence and has been throughout history.  She challenges the reader to instead consider modern technology an opportunity to redefine the realities of our modern world to better reflect what we value and aspire to.

No one's cognitive capacity can encompass everything, Davidson argues, so "attention blindness" is basically unavoidable; instead she argues we now need to be more conscious about what it is we choose to attend to.  It's now all at our fingertips, literally, but what of all of it is important, valuable, worthwhile?

Davidson also touches upon "multi-tasking" and debunks the idea of mono-tasking.  She re-frames multi-tasking as being about distribution rather than distraction.  Human minds have always craved activity and stimulation and with current technology where everything links with everything and the ability to see and process these links is unlike any other time in history, our schools and workplaces must adapt to a new reality and seize the moment.

Davidson identifies "These key factors for educational success -- rigor, relevance, and relationships" and states they "-- have been dubbed the new 3 R's..."


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