Creating a fake chilly look in a studio for a 'Fortitude' poster photo shoot: http://t.co/Fm82pBueOG
The graceful movements of tennis players captured with long exposures and strobe lights: http://t.co/056IGAgJX0
Jonathan Haidt’s metaphor of the elephant and the rider is useful here. In Haidt’s telling, the mind is like an elephant (the emotions) with a rider (the intellect) on top. The rider can see and plan ahead, but the elephant is far more powerful. Sometimes the rider and the elephant work together (the ideal in classroom settings), but if they conflict, the elephant usually wins.
After reading Haidt, I’ve stopped thinking of students as people who simply make choices about whether to pay attention, and started thinking of them as people trying to pay attention but having to compete with various influences, the largest of which is their own propensity towards involuntary and emotional reaction. (This is even harder for young people, the elephant so strong, the rider still a novice.)
In the classroom, it’s me against a brilliant and well-funded army (including, sharper than a serpent’s tooth, many of my former students.) These designers and engineers have every incentive to capture as much of my students’ attention as they possibly can, without regard for any commitment those students may have made to me or to themselves about keeping on task.
Computers are not inherent sources of distraction — they can in fact be powerful engines of focus — but latter-day versions have been designed to be, because attention is the substance which makes the whole consumer internet go.
The “Nearby Peers” effect, though, shreds that rationale. There is no laissez-faire attitude to take when the degradation of focus is social. Allowing laptop use in class is like allowing boombox use in class — it lets each person choose whether to degrade the experience of those around them.
To the people who say “Students have always passed notes in class”, I reply that old-model notes didn’t contain video and couldn’t arrive from anywhere in the world at 10 megabits a second.)
Indeed, college contains daily exercises in delayed gratification. “Discuss early modern European print culture” will never beat “Sing karaoke with friends” in a straight fight, but in the long run, having a passable Rhianna impression will be a less useful than understanding how media revolutions unfold.
Play classic games in the browser itself
Woah. This machine scans books at the blazing rate of 250 pages per minute. Check it out: http://t.co/RX9vWQPK
The Great Wall of Mumbai: Street Art and the Entrepreneurial Spirit http://t.co/lhXWuTDX
The 11 best street foods worth blowing your diet over http://t.co/EvBxwez3 #lp #travel
The world's most beautiful buildings http://t.co/Wf9o4y43 #lp #travel
The best stylus for iPad: four new entries including the Lunatik Touch Pen and Sensu Brush http://t.co/O1gi5B4F
Tom Jenkins' sports photography: every one’s a winner – in pictures http://t.co/ByPQRC6Q