Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

by Cathy N. Davidson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670022823
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 08/18/2011
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.18(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Cathy N. Davidson served as the first vice provost fro interdisciplinary studies at Duke University from 1998 until 2006, where she helped create the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. She currently codirects the annual HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning competitions. She has published more than a dozen books, including Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory and The Future of Thinking. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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Now You See It 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Linsy June More than 1 year ago
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 Cathy Davidson writes a brilliant account of the necessity of our society to rethink our old and outdated methods and adapt our education system to coordinate and cooperate with our present society.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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
lauriebrown54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting book, but I feel the title is a little misleading. It¿s not so much that brain science will transform how we do things; it¿s more that technology will. In a world where the boundaries between work and personal life have been broken down by constant email, texts, and cell phones; where classrooms have been infiltrated by iPods and homework over the internet; where people all over the world are working to produce the largest, constantly changing, encyclopedia; and where many jobs require skill sets that didn¿t even exist 25 years ago, the way people are educated has to change. That seemed to me to be the main thrust of the book. This is not the first time that technology has changed the way people learned and thought. The steam powered press and machine made ink and paper put books and magazines into the hands of the middle class for the first time. Everyday people could learn things that they had no direct physical contact with. This was a revolution in education. The education system we use today was designed near the start of the machine age, an age of factories that created identical things, and wanted workers who behaved in identical ways. That¿s not the way the world works today. In a lot of jobs, people need the ability to create, not do the same task over and over again- although these are higher paying jobs for the college educated, not the McJobs that so many of us are stuck in; the author is dealing with `thinking¿ jobs in this book, not service jobs. Davidson believes that the schools must change to make education fun and interesting for the students; children usually feel that `learning¿ is unpleasant when asked about it, but will happily learn from a video game, and in fact deny that they were learning from it. The author also feels that many of the children diagnosed with ADHD are simply not being taught things that interest them, and are far from hopeless in the classroom- provided the classroom changes to meet their needs. She¿s not denying the need for learning basic skills- reading, writing, math- but feels these things need to be taught differently. Sadly, in an era where funding for schools is being cut back, I don¿t see that these changes will take place in the near future. She also points out that our beliefs changes how we perceive things; the student that we feel has ADHD and should be medicated if we see them in a reading class we might think was a genius if we see them first in an art class; memory lapses are ignored when young people make them but are seen as signs of dementia when someone over 45 has them. We need to become more aware of our preset beliefs to see things as they really are. I think it¿s a valuable book for educators and business managers, but a lot of changes- expensive ones in some cases- will have to be made for her ideas to be made real. I think that will be very slow in coming.
otterpopmusic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Halfway through this book I would have given it 4 stars, but then I got to the section on work, which is frustratingly utopian.
paulsignorelli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cathy Davidson is an engaging, thoughtful, and thought-provoking writer; she also is a justifiably admired educator (former vice provost for interdisciplinary studies at Duke University) who clearly puts her attention on the learners she serves. And she has plenty to teach all trainer-teacher-learners about what we're doing right as well as what we're failing miserably to achieve. Her goal, she tells us right up front in "Now You See It," is to provide "a positive, practical, and even hopeful story about attention in our digital age" by exposing us to "research in brain science, education, and workplace psychology to find the best ways to learn and change in challenging times" (p. 6). And she delivers. Convincingly. Starting with a summary of an experiment that shows how much we miss around us by focusing too closely on certain details because we have learned to block out the overwhelming amount of stimulation that routinely comes our way, Davidson suggests that our learning process needs to include at least three steps: learning, unlearning, and relearning--and the sort of collaboration that allows us to rely on others to help us see what we otherwise would miss. We travel with Davidson through studies of how gaming can effectively be used in learning. How engaging learners in the learning process by making them partners recreates the learning experience to produce tremendously positive results. And there are also wonderful stories illustrating the difference in attitudes between young learners in a failing magnet school and those in a demographically similar school that "exemplifies the best in public education" (p. 97). Those of us who take the time to read--and reread--what she offers in "Now You See It," giving it the attention it deserves, may be able to help others past those feelings of loss and deficit and failure. And help ourselves as well.
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