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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Paying Attention - Work Ethic 2.0

This is a must-read.  http://www.internetnews.com/commentary/print.php/3793561

I think it is always interesting when there is "new" information sources that fully contradict each other.

On the one hand - our students are masters at "multi-tasking."

On the other hand - They have no attention span.

This article would argue that one of the truly necessary 21st century literacies would be to teach students how to pay attention.

2 great quotes:

"Control of attention is the ultimate individual power," he wrote. "People who can do that are not prisoners of the stimuli around them."


In a world in which entire industries bet their businesses on gaining access to our attention, which value leads to better personal success: hard work or the ability to control attention?

A person who works six hours a day but with total focus has an enormous advantage over a 12-hour-per-day workaholic who's "multi-tasking" all day, answering every phone call, constantly checking Facebook and Twitter, and indulging every interruption.

It's time we upgraded our work ethic for the age we're living in, not our grandparents' age. Hard work is still a virtue, but now takes a distant second place to the new determinant of success or failure in the age of Internet distractions: Control of attention.

Hard work is dead. Are you paying attention?

What's funny (haha & strange) to me is that the ability to pay attention is not only Work Ethic 2.0 - it seems to be that the "hard work" IS "paying attention."

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous


At 5:31 PM, Blogger Clix said...


Or perhaps that paying attention is hard work?

At 8:13 PM, Blogger Mr. Willhoit said...

Thanks for bringing up such an interesting topic. I think that if we are going to expose our students to these applications that could eventually become a time-suck, that we should also provide solutions for how they can still accomplish their tasks. My two cents at www.mrwillhoit.blogspot.com

At 12:22 PM, Blogger healigan said...

and...if we are going to create creative, critical thinkers, then paying attention is only the first step. Is it counter intuitive to teach someone to multi-task AND focus???

At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Jan Smith said...

This article and post really got me thinking, and then I read this: http://theline.edublogs.org/2009/01/03/would-the-bhudda-differentiate/ Things that make you go hmmm.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Ric Murry said...

Thanks for writing everyone.

Clix - Perhaps if we see the statement as a mathematical statement, then it becomes a equative sentence and both must, therefore, be correct. ;-)

Mr. Willhoit - You have a excellent article in this conversation. I wonder if the "less is better" cliche has a place for us.

Healigan - In the words of Kosmo Kramer, "You just blew my mind!" Is it possible to focus on multi-tasking?

Jan - What a great link! I have now subscribed to that blog. I do not think any religious leader would differentiate. One thing I have heard (I wish I could remember where) "true contentment comes only when one submits to the authority of God." I would think that would be a belief held in many religions. We are dealing with kids who are never content. They always want more, want to do more, and seldom focus on anything...they only focus on the next thing.


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