Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21s t Century [NOOK Book]


A digital innovator shows how we can thrive in the new technological age.

When Cathy Davidson and Duke University gave free iPods to the freshman class in 2003, critics said they were wasting their money. Yet when students in practically every discipline invented academic uses for their music players, suddenly the idea could be seen in a new light-as an innovative way to ...
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Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21s t Century

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A digital innovator shows how we can thrive in the new technological age.

When Cathy Davidson and Duke University gave free iPods to the freshman class in 2003, critics said they were wasting their money. Yet when students in practically every discipline invented academic uses for their music players, suddenly the idea could be seen in a new light-as an innovative way to turn learning on its head.

This radical experiment is at the heart of Davidson's inspiring new book. Using cutting-edge research on the brain, she shows how "attention blindness" has produced one of our society's greatest challenges: while we've all acknowledged the great changes of the digital age, most of us still toil in schools and workplaces designed for the last century. Davidson introduces us to visionaries whose groundbreaking ideas-from schools with curriculums built around video games to companies that train workers using virtual environments-will open the doors to new ways of working and learning. A lively hybrid of Thomas Friedman and Norman Doidge, Now You See It is a refreshingly optimistic argument for a bold embrace of our connected, collaborative future.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

When Vice Provost Cathy Davidson and Duke University handed out free iPods to every incoming 2003 freshman, the decision unleashed a firestorm of criticism, but before second semester was over, many of the naysayers were eating crow. The experiment had worked in ways that not even its creators had imagined: Students had found academic uses for the digital devices in virtually every discipline. In Now You See It, Davidson explains how the power of disruption can make us refocus in unforeseen productive ways. Editor's recommendation.

Publishers Weekly
Davidson (The Future of Thinking) offers a stunning new vision for the future, showing how the latest advances in brain research could revolutionize education and workplace management. Davidson, formerly a vice provost at Duke and now codirector of the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital and Media Learning Competitions, begins with the concept of "attention blindness," a basic principle of neuroscience stating that individuals only see a portion of the world in front of them. Davidson asks how, whether working alone or collaboratively, we might overcome this deficit and gain a broader perspective on our mental and physical surroundings. She interviews pioneers who have demonstrated amazing success in accomplishing this goal. Her focus ranges from startup charter schools in rural North Carolina to IBM, demonstrating how to move to a world that recognizes the rich interrelationships inherent in the 21st century. Duke, for instance, allowed students to bring digital experience to their (and their professors') educational experience by giving students iPods and asking them to "dream up learning applications." 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. (Aug.)
Howard Gardner
“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 Rheingold
"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."
Christopher Chabris
"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."
John Seely Brown
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!"
Dan Ariely
“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."
Anya Kamenetz
?"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.”
William Pannapacker
“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.”
Virginia Hefferman
"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.”
Mark Changizi
"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."
Steve Wheeler
“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.”
Joshua Kim
“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.”
Bruce Bower
“[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."
Brian Mossop
“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.”
Sophie Duvernoy
“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."
Kirkus Reviews

A preview of the future from an educational innovator.

Davidson (The Future of Thinking, 2010, etc.), who codirects the annual HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning competitions, describes an experiment where most of a group told to count passes between basketball players in a short film fails to spot a person who walks through the scene in a gorilla suit. Too- focused attention can miss something unexpected. The author takes this insight as a key to examine the nature of attention, which she believes has deep roots in the educational system created to fill jobs where workers arrive at a given time and perform a specific task in tight coordination with other workers. As Davidson notes, students who don't respond well to these expectations are pigeonholed as misfits, slow learners, troublemakers or worse. But brain research indicates that the educational establishment is out of step; 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. After a brief introductory chapter, Davidson offers several examples of how the schools and workplaces of the future might look. Duke University's 2003 experiment of giving the entire freshman class free iPods drew widespread scorn, but the experiment justified itself as students found innovative ways to use the devices in the classroom and lab. The administration grasped the iPod's capability to connect the students' work for group projects, such as a podcasting conference that distributed a lecture on Shakespeare worldwide. Elementary-school children are learning by using computer games, and other schools are abandoning traditional class structure to reach children who might be left behind in conventional schools. The revolution is reaching the workplace, as well—notably at IBM, where a significant portion of the workforce now telecommutes and many workgroups are spread out over three continents, connecting by teleconferencing. Further, the military is making heavy use of video games in training soldiers to use new weapons systems.

Davidson may oversell the revolution in thinking—there's a lot of cheerleading here—but her points are worth pondering.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101517727
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/18/2011
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 405,089
  • File size: 504 KB

Meet 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 17, 2011

    Brilliant... A must read!

    It is sad and scary how far behind our education system is from our society's accelerating advancements. The longer we wait to make a change, the further behind we will get. Cathy Davidson writes a brilliant account of the necessity of our society to rethink our old and outdated methods and adapt our education system to coordinate and cooperate with our present society. Educators love the word "alignment," yet the system fails to align education with society. How ironic. Contrary to most works along these lines today, Davidson not only makes the point of the need to adjust education to catch up with society, but backs the point up with research, historical data, and even a breadth of diverse solutions to meet our diverse needs. This book should be required reading not only for all educators, but (and more importantly) for all politicians and school administrators. The education system is so overwhelmed by bureaucracy and individuals so far removed from the classroom that not only have they fogotten the the purpose of education, they are blind to its overwhelming failures. There is so much potential being wasted today that a total rethinking and restructuring is needed now more than ever -- or it will soon be too late.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    A very interesting book based on the author's research and personal experience as head of interdisciplinary studies at Duke University. Without the annoying typos that are so dominant in every publication these days and using a vocabulary that allows the lay person to understand complicated neurological concepts without oversimplifying, this book is challenging and thought-provoking. For everyone interested in education at any level Dr. Davidson demonstrates the chasm between what is now known about how the brain works and how educational systems are structured. The neurological information is fascinating especially the "attention blindness" that is learned and can be unlearned. Also the iPod experiment at Duke University that was the experiential foundation for her correlation between brain research and pedagogy was fascinating. "The iPod experiment was an acknowledgement that the brain is, above all, interactive, that it selects, repeats, and mirrors, always, constantly, in complex interactions with the world," (p. 78) which is often at odds with an education system "based on giving premium value to expertise, specialization, and hierarchy...."(p.78) Learning this information and applying it in the classroom could make such a difference for all classroom participants in enhancing learning and taking responsibility. Alvin Toffler pointed out some time ago and Dr. Davidson reiterates that current educational structure reflects the industrial revolution and preparing people to work in factories, something few people do any more. The historical information about the development of American education is useful in understanding how we got to this point. The focus on preparing people to succeed in the world in which they actually exist, a digital, connected, interactive world instead of a text, expert world is enlightening. "At our most ambitious, we hoped to change the one-directional model of attention that has formed the twentieth-century classroom."(p. 77) Mistakes were made, new information was not initially understood, trial and error, working together became the model. Instead of mourning that things are different, the inspiration of this book is how to teach people to thrive in the world in which they live instead of succeed in a world that is fading. Attention blindness! What a concept applicable to all aspects of human existence. Read this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    Good Book


    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 16, 2012


    Glitterstar-elders den

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