Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Lecturing in the Age of Distraction

Following on from Jonathan's comment on my post-before-last. I recently ran across an article on lecturing within the context of proliferating technologies of attention. Eric Gordon and David Bogen (Spring 2009) "Designing Choreographies for the 'New Economy of Attention.'" DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly, 3(2).

It's an interesting article arguing how we should try to leverage the advantages of the new technologies to enrich lectures, rather than just fighting against them. Though in some ways it's like saying that the bucket has holes and the water is pouring out. Rather than plugging the holes, we should explore what the leaks have to offer the situation. Teachers should be sensitive to the means of communication and habits of thought and life of their students and be somewhat adaptable, flexible, and creative in that regard, but at the same time the students need to meet us at least half way. When they're signed up for a class, they should be in the class and make every effort to participate and pay attention (though perhaps I'm just old-fashioned). The article presents a number of suggestions for choreographing all these means of distraction and attention as part of the lecture. But I think there's a fine line between creatively engaging the situation and catering to rude behavior (electronically based or not, passing notes is passing notes).

Just my 2 cents.

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