Read Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century by Cathy N. Davidson Online


"As scholarly as [it] is . . . this book about education happens to double as an optimistic, even thrilling, summer read." --The New York TimesA brilliant combination of science and its real-world application, Now You See It sheds light on one of the greatest problems of our historical moment: our schools and businesses are designed for the last century, not for a world in"As scholarly as [it] is . . . this book about education happens to double as an optimistic, even thrilling, summer read." --The New York TimesA brilliant combination of science and its real-world application, Now You See It sheds light on one of the greatest problems of our historical moment: our schools and businesses are designed for the last century, not for a world in which technology has reshaped the way we think and learn. In this informed and optimistic work, Cathy N. Davidson takes us on a tour of the future of work and education, introducing us to visionaries whose groundbreaking ideas will soon affect every arena of our lives, from schools with curriculums built around video games to workplaces that use virtual environments to train employees....

Title : Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century
Author :
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ISBN : 9780143121268
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century Reviews

  • Trevor
    2019-02-17 18:56

    Although it probably doesn’t really seem like it at first glance, this book is really about cognitive dissonance. It is about the many ways that we find to ignore the fact that we are mostly blind and mostly only see what we want to see. I absolutely know this is true of me, for instance – and that it is perhaps getting truer as I get older. I can read these books, but I’m not sure they help me see my own blind spots. Although these books do make me feel like an expert in everyone else’s blind spots.I suppose one of my blind spots is that I increasingly expect most people to be selfish, nasty and utterly lacking in compassion. The Australian Coalition talk of ‘families’ while cutting nurses from our hospitals, American Republicans are photographed with beaming smiles and money sticking out of every orifice and British Conservatives assure us we can have growth through austerity, despite all evidence to the contrary. But as long as these cuts and thrusts and back-of-the-hand gangster slaps are directed at others, their supporters can talk or ‘compassionate conservatism’ or ‘Big Society’ or ‘ditch the bitch’ without ever a blush. We see what we want to see. And if there is a lesson to the moon dancing bear it is probably that we are happy to keep on seeing what we want to see. In fact, we become a little annoyed at our having counted the basketball passes all the way up to seventeen and then not receive proper recognition for our efforts…We are as defined by our blind spots and the half-truths (and worse) we tell of ourselves, by our shadows that always remain infinitely dark, as we are defined by the dazzling, rose-tinted light we shine on our good deeds and our fine sounding opinions. The light is the shadow; the shadow, the light.To be honest, I thought this book was simply too chatty to be of much use. I found my mind wandering and myself wondering why quite so much fluff was needed. It was almost as if the author thought that we would find her message so terribly challenging (essentially, that we are deluded and need to find ways to trip ourselves up, so as to be able look again, to perhaps be able to see) that she needed to wrap this message in endless balls of cottonwool.There are good bits – mainly her attack on The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains – her assertion that rather than multitasking being bad for us, it is in fact our standard human response, due to the fact that our brains are not good at doing boring. This leads to her attack on Fordism and Taylorism for exactly the same reason. The problem I see with all of this – besides the fact that it is really a bit like The Lonely Crowd, Revised edition: A Study of the Changing American Character, that is, a manifesto for a very small portion of humanity, maybe only the top 5% of the top half billion people on the planet – is that the idea of the future of work being for the symbolic manipulators probably isn’t quite as universally true as is often maintained.Her notion of the future of work as being people working from home in a sequence of short-term, project-centred activities sounds wonderful – although I struggle to see how these people are going to be adequately reimbursed for their labour and thereby be able to afford to buy a house or food or those sorts of crazy things – but then, who needs the necessities of life when there are so many luxuries and all so close to hand. This makes her complaints about 80 hour working weeks and our need to rethink our priorities all ring a little hollow. Look, her heart is in the right place – it is just that I didn’t think she quite saw some of the moon dancing bears our world is so full of at the moment. A bit like wondering why guys holding guns at Tea Party demonstrations don’t get pepper sprayed and bashed by police. Just maybe it is because even if these morons were carrying bazookas they would still never be a threat to the system – whereas young people aggressively sitting on the ground, linking arms, humming Radiohead’s No Surprises and sleeping out in parks clearly are. There was a time when those in power thought it necessary to buy off the people of the first world – they clearly don’t feel that is necessary any longer. But we all go on dutifully counting the basketball passes.I’m not sure if I would recommend this book. There are some very interesting and even important ideas here, but they are buried in so much guff and fluff and padding that if you do plan on reading it I can only recommend you bring a shovel.

  • Marleah
    2019-02-21 15:13

    It was very interesting reading this book shortly after reading Quiet by Susan Cain. Davidson thinks about multitasking in a very positive way, even stating that humans are meant to multitask. Cain has a different perspective and is less positive about multitasking. All in all - I think this goes to prove one of Davidson's main points: it takes all kinds of us and all of our own specific skills to address the whole picture. She begins the book by discussing the "modern classic" experiment in which a video of people passing a basketball is shown and participants are asked to count the number of passes. Few people notice the person in a gorilla suit who comes onto the court. Davidson claims that some folks are great at counting the passes, and some people are great at noticing the gorilla - and this is something that we have to recognize in all aspects of life.Davidson goes on to talk about various facets of attention and how we are affected by our own abilities to attend. Much of the research and experiences that she discusses are fascinating, but I still have some doubts that the majority of people do better with open floor plans in offices and with multitasking.

  • Laurie
    2019-01-27 21:11

    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.

  • Amy
    2019-02-05 14:57

    I started this book with high hopes. Most of the books I've read recently have had sections about evolving into the new digital era. This book came highly recommended to me after I posted about project-based education on Google+.I love the premise of this book: we all have blind spots, and an ability to work together with others and shrug off the industrial model of school and work will help us all become brighter and better at life. The digital revolution requires a shift in how we manage education and our work lives. Yes!However, there were some problems. First of all, there were some distracting continuity errors. In one section, the author is talking about her mother-in-law, and says she was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. A few paragraphs (but no apparent changes) later, it's a three-room schoolhouse. At one point, she's teaching third and fourth graders who have a competition with fifth graders. On the next page, when summarizing that story, they're suddenly fourth and fifth graders in competition with sixth graders. Sometimes I wasn't sure whether the stories were mere anecdote or whether she just really needed an editor to help her see the gorillas in her stories.This book is also twice as long as it could be. For a book about attention and the types of things that grab it, the author certainly doesn't take her own advice. However, she seems like a passionate person who really loves the transition to the new, modern era, and I honestly wish I could spend a weekend talking with her about it, especially about the things she thinks we can do to change education.This would be a solid 4-star book for the ideas, but the wordy, confusing writing and the industrial era way of establishing authority using pages and pages to introduce people's names and job titles and experiences distracted from the main points of the text. And the "brain science" was mostly psychology and behavioral sciences, not actual neuroscience, so that was disappointing, too. 3 stars. I recommend reading the first section to get a gist of the ideas and then skimming the rest.

  • Paras Allana
    2019-02-03 15:07

    2.5 starsLike the gorilla experiment, it feels that the writer too had a blind spot. She was concentrating so much to write this book and make her point that she skipped over how boring and repetitive she is being. Her writing style is chatty and it makes you go on reading. This would be a book that would appeal to a layman and would also be readable but I am not sure the whole book is worth the time and attention it requires. Lucky for me, I divided my attention and listened it to the audiobook.This book starts out strong and it feels like there will be interesting things ahead but then there is a lot of stuff that she could have trimmed off and wrote an article rather than a whole book. There was something better towards end and snippets of interesting things in between but overall, an okay book. I dont think one may be missing out much if they decide not to read it.

  • Grace
    2019-01-25 20:01

    Have you ever wondered how we are preparing ourselves and our children to survive and thrive in the digital age? Have you wondered why elementary and high schools haven't changed all that much since you attended them? Have you wondered why the only signs of the digital age in your workplace are the computers in each cubicle? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, Cathy N. Davidson's Now You See It: How The Brain Science of Attention Will Transform The Way We Live, Work, and Learn is the book for you. Cathy N. Davidson has an impressive resume. Most notably, she was instrumental in the creation of the Program in Information Science and Information Studies and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. She also holds two distinguished chairs in English and Interdisciplinary Studies at the same university. (Information taken from the author biography on the back jacket flap of the book.) Her world travels, keen insights, passion for learning, and inquisitive nature make her an engaging narrator as she details where we are in the digital age and where we could be if we understood and utilized the brain science of attention at home, work, and school. "By one estimate, 65 percent of children entering grade school this year will end up working in careers that haven't even been invented yet." (p. 18)Damn. Let's think about this. For every ten kids, at least six of them will have a job that doesn't exist today. The digital age is breaking down the hierarchies and creating a global marketplace of goods and ideas. These developments are creating new careers. What are we doing to prepare children for these new careers? We administer standardized tests. Personally, I understand the practical uses of standardized tests; however, I do not believe that they should be the end all and be all of education. A standardized test should not make or break a student, a teacher, or even a whole school. Teachers teach to the test. Students memorize to pass the test. What about teaching critical thinking skills or oral and written communication skills? Why are we not taking the time to engage students in the topics that interest them or to make a not so interesting lesson interesting through creative, hands-on methods? Davidson details several instances where children are learning in unconventional classrooms. For example, Quest 2 Learn (Q2L) in Manhattan utilizes video games to educate middle school students. According to Davidson, "The game-based learning makes for a constant challenge, one calibrated to the individual child's learning abilities and progress, each level becoming more challenging after the previous one has been mastered, with constant disruption and shifts, not from topic to topic but with all forms of knowledge integrated into the ultimate test: a boss-level challenge." (p.90) I don't know about you, but I would have preferred a middle school like Q2L than the middle school I attended. "...the contemporary worker switches tasks an average of once every three minutes. Often that change isn't just a matter of moving from one job to another but requires a shift in context or collaborators, sometimes communicating with workers around the globe with different cultural values and who do not speak English as a first language. Perhaps not surprisingly, once interrupted, the workers she's (Gloria Mark) studying take nearly 25 minutes to return to their original task." (p. 170 - 171)This makes sense to me. Between emails, phone calls, faxes, coworkers, and bosses, workers are constantly switching gears from one task to another, dropping one task to work on another because it's deemed a higher priority. How can we handle all of the attention grabbing stimuli that are a part of the digital age workplace when most workplaces haven't escaped the early 1990s? Meet Aza Raskin, the 27 year old creative lead for Firefox, the second most popular web browser. (I use it!) Firefox is an example of a digital age project. It's "an open-source, crowdsourced, collaboratively developed browser." (p. 175/links are to wikipedia) It's also free. Raskin is working to modify Firefox's browser to keep up with the expanding needs of its users. Right now, he is focused on making tabs more efficient. This is wonderful news for me because I have more tabs than my screen can show. These are just a couple of examples that Davidson uses throughout the book to demonstrate that utilizing our brain's innate attention resources can improve our schools, work places, and lives in general. Her narrative and tone are fun and conversational. She doesn't bog readers down with boring examples or scientific data that's undecipherable to the average reader. The pacing is quick, very similar to keeping with the changes in attention every few minutes. Overall, I enjoyed this book. It gave me a lot of think about and a few quips to add into conversation like: Did you know that over 50 percent of internet porn consumption happens on company time? (p. 14)The first speeding ticket was issued to Hollywood director Harry Myers for traveling 12 mph through Dayton, Ohio in 1904. (p. 16)Americans speak about 165 words per minute. New Yorkers speak closer to 200. (p.27)The average age of a World of Warcraft player is 32 as of 2010. (p.146)This review originally appeared on Feeding My Book Addiction: http://feedingmybookaddiction.blogspo...

  • Jonathan Cassie
    2019-02-15 17:03

    What a fascinating piece of work. I've long been a big fan of Cathy Davidson's writing and work. Her memoir of her time in Japan - "36 Views of Mount Fuji," is one of my favorite examples of the genre, period.In this book, she does an exemplary job of unpacking the anxiety felt by many people about the changes being wrought in society by the Internet revolution. She analyzes 20th century practices, modes of organization, thinking, educating and thinking and demonstrates why these modes do not hold up in the information age we now live in.A couple of quotes to illustrate her thinking:"Keep in mind that we had over a hundred years to perfect our institutions and work for the industrial age. The chief purpose of those organizations was to make the divisions of labor central to industrialization seems natural to twntieth-century workers. We had to be trained to inhabit the twntieth centur comfortably and productively. Everything about school and work in the twentieth century was designed to create and reinforce separate subjects, separate cultures, separate grades,separate functions, separate spaces for personal life, work, private life, and all other functions. And then the Internet came along." (13)"School has been organized to prepare us for work, dividing one age group from another, one subject form another, with grades demarcating who is and who isn't academically gifted, and with hierarchies of what knowledge is or is not important. Intellectual work, in general, is divided up too, with facts separated from interpretation, logic from imagination, rationality from creativity and knowledge from entertainment. In the end, there are no clear boundaries separating any of these things from the other, but we've arranged our institutions to make it all seem as discrete, fixed and hierarchical as possible." (279)Davidson is a smart visionary able to synthesize across scientific, literary and social disciplines. My only caveat on the book is that if you are reasonably well read on the literature of 21st century change, the first chapter is going to feel like a review of the literature. But don't worry, things get good in chapter 2!

  • Paul Signorelli
    2019-02-07 15:18

    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.

  • Mark Changizi
    2019-01-30 15:15

    ...In general, I'm receptive to knock-down-the-pillars theses, but Ms. Davidson's book is ultimately a disappointment, mostly because of the way it treats "the science"—in particular, my own specialty, brain science. Ms. Davidson writes as if the human mind's functions are almost totally elastic. "Learning happens in everything we do," she writes. "Very little comes by 'instinct.' " In fact, instincts are often part of what help us to learn—the classic example being fear of things like snakes and spiders, which has to be triggered by experience but is remembered more easily than other fears.Yet the trouble really begins with the title, "Now You See It," which refers to the "gorilla" experiments of Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris that demonstrated what they have called "inattentional blindness." In the experiments, subjects were asked to watch a video of basketball players and to count the number of times they passed the ball; many failed to notice as a man in a gorilla costume wandered through the frame....See my full Wall Street Journal review here...

  • Erhardt Graeff
    2019-02-06 21:59

    Cathy Davidson combines a lot of contemporary research into education, digital media, and neuroscience into a book that reads easily and cohesively like a Malcolm Gladwell volume. She is more careful about her argument though, and discusses its limitations while remaining substantive and optimistic about what can be accomplished through better understanding of how we learn, and need to learn, in order to succeed in this day in age.

  • Z
    2019-02-02 18:11

    Perhaps the most engaging book on neuroscience I have read, with the most practical recommendations for our educational system, our workplaces, and our lives. Davidson does a fantastic job of highlighting the contrast between our technological abilities and our ways of doing things, thinking about things, and educating our children. Highly, highly, highly recommended.

  • Sally Anne
    2019-02-02 14:04

    Highly recommended. Although I felt it was unfocussed in many ways, what did I expect from a book about multi-tasking, the internet, and neuroscience. Very interesting and rather inspirational, for those who are not too old and cynical to be inspired.

  • Cathy Griffith
    2019-02-01 15:56

    A must read for teachers, bosses, people who whine about "these kids today and their dang smart phones", and anyone ever diagnosed with ADD.

  • Amy Garnica
    2019-02-08 20:11

    Wow! Changed the way I think about schools and work.

  • Laura
    2019-02-21 15:13

    At first I was in love with this book... but then the scope expanded to be so broad that it was hard to follow. Still, a lot of interesting case studies and points made.

  • Waseem
    2019-02-01 15:54

    This book started well - then got a bit more extensive than it needed to be in my opinion ( am not sure how other reviewers found it a “quick read” ) Not sure there was much brain science itself discussed in this book , but instead how the changing world of business and technology can effect our brains and how we should adapt and evolve for better results whether that be in school , work or later on in lifeReminded me about another similar book I also read recently “Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink which covered similar themes I’d recommend which more enjoyable vs dragged out like thisTo Our Continued Success!Waseem Mirza

  • Vivian Halloran
    2019-01-28 14:04

    This was a thoroughly persuasive defense of multi-tasking and of collaboration as mechanisms to facilitate knowledge production in an age information overload. I loved the conversational tone. The case studies are both illustrative and entertaining. Reading this helped me reconsider assumptions I make about the classroom and how best to align the study of literature (my area) with both real-world contexts and skills. I loved the description of the Duke iPod experiment and of the iterations of Your Brain on The Internet. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

  • Phillias
    2019-02-09 14:04

    Field guide? No. This is moral support.Saying 'Our kids are all right' many times does not make it so.Showing kids are specifically adapted to an environment that created their habits is naturally demonstrable, but not necessarily desirable.Many cherry picked studies, not balanced.Very few positive examples, lots of negativity.

  • Cherise
    2019-02-16 16:52

    Distractions are everywhere especially within the world’s technology. Whenever it comes to the use of one’s cell-phone, laptop, television, etc,, the world around us is constantly full of distraction and one’s mind especially since it is so limited, can only focus on one thing at a time and so the human mind is very limited whenever it comes to learning. In the book called Now You See It by Cathy Davidson, the human mind is described as consistently learning and unlearning. According to Davidson, the mind is set on paying attention to one thing at a time because the mind is thinking all the time. The process of learning revolves around the human mind and how it processes information. Everyone’s mind works differently especially when it comes to learning because everyone thinks and perceives everything differently.So Davidson and many other educators at Duke University came up with a new theory on how each and every mind can learn at a steady pace through an experiment called “The IPOD Experiment” in which people can learn through the use of technology or in other words the IPOD. This experiment mainly took place among the students can learn at Duke University. It was used as a start of finding a new learning paradigm or formal education for the digital era or the world of technology and many of the students greatly benefited from the use of learning from it. Since the world is already consumed by technology, why not apply education to technology so that everyone can learn at their own pace?Applying education to technology is the main idea of Now You See It because the book alone breaks down the process of the brain and how it adapts to education and society. The book then goes into how the attention span begins at birth of when one opens up their eyes, their brain begins to start developing at a young age by growing through everything it sees and experiences. The book then applies how the human mind adapts to growing through learning through different environments such as school and work through the human perception of how it learns to adapt.I like this book called Now You See It because I can relate it as a teacher in training through the process of how it applies to learning. As a teacher in training, my mind is constantly thinking about to improve and how I am doing my job. I am a deep thinker when it comes to work experience, I am always overthinking the use of my work performance through how I can improve in it. W hen I read this, it taught me to try to focus on what is going on around me and how I can get the students around me to focus better as well.I get my students to focus with words of encouragement to get the job done. I also sit and work with them one-on-one, so that they can get the task done without the use of distraction. So, when I read this book; one lesson came to mind: just because the human mind is limited, it doesn’t have to have to stop them from learning as a whole because the mind will constantly learn, no matter what distractions there would be around it.

  • Janel C.
    2019-01-24 20:18

    In this book, Davidson, longtime Duke professor and founder of HASTAC, argues that attention blindness is the key to how we learn, how we identify problems, and how we find solutions to those problems. Using helpful anecdotes from real life (including infant development) as well as business and education, Davidson writes that we must each identify our current patterns of thought and action and then unlearn in order to see what we're missing.She makes a compelling argument for socially constructed values. For instance, she discusses how infants learn from their parents whether music is "pretty" or not. In addition, even the seemingly "natural" habit of talking to western babies with noun-heavy dialog instills in young minds the importance of naming things, a pattern that isn't true worldwide. Part of her argument is that historic and social trends in education policy and implementation are lagging behind both what is needed to succeed in today's workforce as well as what technologies are doing to the way we learn and work.Not surprisingly, Davidson takes on standardized testing as highly biased as well as attuned to the dominant values of effiency, timeliness, order, and finding the one right answer. These values aren't what American society needs right now, argues Davidson, and she goes on to highlight schools (including Duke as well as a few charter schools doing interesting project-based and collaborative work).As a graduate student as well as a mother with children in 1st and 4th grade, I found many of Davidson's points quite pertinent to my own learning and the education I want for my children.Shortcomings:-a bit repetitive and overly simplified at times (I found the section on infant brain development underwhelming and facile)I would recommend this book to readers who are-interested in the history and problems with standardized testing-parents of children who are frustrated by traditional schooling and who are looking for ways to advocate and supplement their kids' public school education-worried about the supposed "erosion" of quality elementary and middle school education-thinkers who don't follow linear thoughts but instead discover their best ideas through networking and interdisciplinary reading/work

  • Eustacia Tan
    2019-02-07 21:04

    I got this book as part of the The History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education MOOC at Coursera. But that's not the point I want to make. The point I want to make is that I didn't realise that the author, also the professor in charge of the MOOC, is also the author of 36 Views of Mount Fuji! I remember reading the book and I liked it(:Now You See It is divided into four parts. The first is about cognitive dissonance. The second is about technology and education/children. The third is about technology and the workplace. The last is about how brains are flexible. Out of all four sections, the second part (about kids/education) was the most interesting to me and left the strongest impression. For example, do video games really cause violence? Or do they help kids learn? (Apparently, 'televisions cause violence' was a thing when televisions first started, so this blame game with technology does seem cyclical). Of course, this book is focused on learning and technology, such as the Duke iPod experiment, which makes sense, seeing as Ms Davidson is a teacher. Since I know nothing about neuroscience, I can't say if the science in this book is accurate or not. But I do think that a lot of the ideas in this book are interesting. For example, her student-led class (and the controversy that later became when she proposed to delegate the grade-giving process) was definitely food for thought, although I can't imagine something like this happening in Japan in the near future. But for ACS(I)/IB/Singapore JC[maybe], yes, I can see something like this, for perhaps one class. This is an interesting and fairly easy-to-read book. Since there are basically four sections, you may want to just focus on the section that interests you most, but if you have the time and inclination, you should definitely read it through. This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  • K. O'Bibliophile
    2019-01-31 14:17

    More like a 3.5, but Goodreads is annoying and stubbornly refuses to let me do that.Basically: a book about how humans pay attention and learn, and how it is changing/should change now that computers and the internet are involved.I enjoyed the beginning more, because it was talking about the things that influence how we learn. For example, babies *learn* that some things (grandparents) are considered more worthy of attention than other (light hitting the curtains).Later chapters focus on school and learning, and the workplace. Davidson makes good points, using studies to back up what she writes. The tone is distinctly "the internet is good! Long live the digital revolution!" And she makes some compelling points--how school is based on an old model meant to prepare students for a few specific industries, not geared at creativity. Then again, I'm also biased because I was homeschooled, so all all the "GASP! This doesn't work well! But these other creative/individual things do!" stuff was...old news, I guess. Very unsurprising.For the workplace, I did have to wonder, though, how much of a change society would have to go through for what Davidson wants to occur across the board. I felt that as the book went on, it was leaning more and more toward idealization and didn't address things that would stand in the way....But then again, I was getting bored. I love reading about studies and stuff, not so much "this is how things could/should be!" Also, there really wasn't that much about "the brain science of attention." We did get some attention-specific stuff, especially early on, but more and more there'd just be a quick "etc etc and also attention!" thrown in, sort of like when I was writing undergrad papers and got off-topic but liked what I wrote so I'd throw in a feeble line so we could all pretend that it was relevant. Not that the book is bad, but it's more focused on changing needs in school and the workplace in response to a shifting society, digitally, than "attention."

  • Claire
    2019-02-20 19:56

    Now You See It is an informational text that seeks to talk about education an the workplace in modern society. I chose to read it because I had the good fortune of attending a talk about this book by the author.Like many books of the sort, Now You See it uses many different examples and topics to state the author's opinion on a particular topic. The main focus of Now You See It is the science of attention, though it also places a very strong focus on how the turn of the century, and the technological advantages it brings, affect schooling. According to the author, we still cling to 20th century schooling methods, such as keeping our classes to a strict bell schedule, regardless of whether the class change may cut students off in the middle of a project. This style of education was developed to prepare children for factory work, where they were expected to do what they were told with minimal thinking. In today's society, however, with many jobs being performed with technology, this becomes undesirable. The internet provides infinite opportunity for creativity, and infinite opportunity for distraction. Perhaps more importantly, it allows practically instant interaction with anyone in the world with a computer and a signal. The opportunity for collaboration is endless.Later in the book, Davidson returns to technology. She states her belief that it is not enough for the technology to simply be there; it must be properly utilized so as to allow it to supplement the learning experience without dominating it. She makes reference to her own personal experiences several times in the book, such as when she went to Japan, and her experiences in physical therapy. At times, the book becomes hard to follow, as it jumps around from topic to topic with a limited sense of continuity. Overall, though, I found it an enjoyable read that makes important statements. I would recommend it to anyone who likes psychology, or has creative ideas for our educational system.

  • Michael Burnam-Fink
    2019-02-22 22:18

    Davidson begins with a fascinating premise. What if we seriously considered the ways in which we think, especially the ways in which we selectively pay attention to and ignore the world around us, and then formed our educational and workplace environments around our brains, rather than trying to hammer our polygonal personalities into round holes?It's an idea so simple you'll be shocked you didn't have it. Anybody who's in school or the workplace will tell that something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and as Davidson reveals, our standardized test obsessed education system is the historical legacy of a system designed to take farm kids and immigrants and get them ready for assembly line industrial jobs. The modern office complex, with cubicles and corner offices and HR departments, is the white collar equivalent. The problem is that standardized education is pointless and alienating, it lacks rigor, relevance, and relationships, and assembly line careers are as dead as the Edsel. Rather, the future is collaborative and creative. Videogames and internet culture are far better models for productive endeavors than the old top-heavy bureaucracies.Davidson's exploration of education, and her own experiences as a professor at Duke teaching radically new classes is very well done. Unlike certain people (Jane McGonigal *cough* *cough*) she isn't drinking her own kool-aid. The periphrial material, on the science of attention and on new business models, is less inspiring, more in the genre of 'superficial TED-talks a la Malcolm Gladwell and Howard Rheingold' (why isn't that a real genre yet?) But the central message of the book, that standardized tests measure only what they measure, and not anything externally worthwhile, is something that should be hammered into the heads of every politician, educator, and parent on the planet. Your kids know what's up, why don't know?

  • Den
    2019-01-25 13:52

    In 2003, Duke University professor Cathy Davidson gave free iPods to the incoming freshman class and touched off a firestorm in the media. Critics derided it as a waste of money. Soon, however, students from nearly every discipline were developing numerous academic uses for the devices. In another experiment, students were shown a video and asked to count volleyballs. After the video, the group was asked how many of them saw the gorilla. Most of them responded with, “What gorilla?” Then the video was replayed and, sure enough, a person in a gorilla suit walks in and out of the center of the frame.These twin experiments became the impetus for Professor Davidson’s new book. She takes the reader on a journey through cutting edge brain science and the phenomenon of “attention blindness” where people can be so focused on a single task that they miss the obvious gorilla in the room.Despite all of the changes the internet age has brought to our lives, Davidson argues that our schools and workplaces are still largely designed around the early twentieth century. The book introduces the reader to people on the frontiers, from schools designed around video games to companies using social media like Second Life for training and collaboration.Though Davidson wrote this book before the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements began, one can see many of the ideas she discusses in play here, from the use of social media to crowd-sourcing decision making instead of the top-down hierarchy favored in the worlds of education and business.Davidson offers an optimistic view of the future, where creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving are valued over the ability to memorize facts for a multiple choice exam. I highly recommend this book. It will change the way you think about many things in our world today.

  • Pamela
    2019-01-28 15:57

    Part of the appeal of Now You See It is that Davidson rightfully criticizes current compartmentalized, standardized systems of education and employment that don't accommodate differences in attention or thought processes. And many of her ideas are daring and pleasantly shocking--for instance, she describes a college course she taught, "Your Brain on the Internet," that didn't have a rigid set of outcomes, a class where students were given tools and opportunity to grow in any direction they wanted. But though parts of her book are fascinating and insightful (in the first few pages, she analyzes a Cymbalta ad to demonstrate how it directs viewers' attention away from dangerous side effects), other parts seem like castles built on air. She consistently shows the way the world could be while everything is working right, but she seems to have never experienced life in the trenches. For example, Davidson never considers how a course like "Your Brain on the Internet" would fly on a medium-sized or small campus populated with underachievers or, almost as bad, those who only care about what will get them a good job. Davidson also paints a happy picture of being able to work, to even attend business meetings, from home. Well, sure, cool, you could wear a bathrobe all day long, but any college instructor--especially any college instructor with a family--could tell you about the other edge to this sword. In short, her descriptions of some of the problems are spot-on: education and employment are unreasonably compartmentalized. I wish I could similarly agree with her solutions.

  • Elizabeth Housewright
    2019-02-16 15:07

    This book makes a strong case for collaboration and diversity if you want to see a big picture. I've seen this to be true in both work and social situations. Some things I’m thinking about as a result of reading it:• Sometimes “pilot” can be just a label you give a project when you want a soft launch—might be better to leave expectations more open so that you won’t overlook unanticipated findings?• She has a “strengths based” approach to a happy life, which I agree with. But I wonder if specializing too early, saying “I’m not good at that, interested in that” might cut off options later? Don't most jobs, relationships require that you be out of your comfort zone some of the time?• Everyone needs to think "how can I jolt myself out of my routines so that I might see other options, areas for growth based on new technologies and opportunities?" • Many of her examples of good environments for learning and working seem to come down to having truly engaged teachers and bosses—the exact techniques may matter less than just having someone thinking, aware, trying?• It's a hopeful idea that if you think you are good at something you may actually be better at it than if you don’t. Believing clichés and excuses about getting older actually could make them come true? Quotes:• “When you think of learning as something external to yourself, learning becomes a levy—an assessment, not an asset. The assessment no longer matters after the schooling stops. The asset is a resource one draws on for a lifetime. “ • "If there is any word that defines the twentieth century, it might be normative: a defining and enforcing of standards of what counts as correct."

  • Frank Spencer
    2019-01-25 17:53

    The author believes that our schools and work places have not changed to take into account the changes brought about by computers and the internet. She thinks that we need to be more collaborative, problem solving oriented, creative, appreciative of learning differences, and relevant in our teaching, learning and work. She has certainly been in the middle of some of the changes which have recently taken place, such as the ipod initiative at Duke University and HASTAC. She has a lot of personal experience on which to base her observations. Other issues that she touches upon, along the way, are expansion of creative thinking, changes in testing and evaluation, benefits of game playing, unlearning old patterns and learning new ones, and crowdsourcing. A company that supports workers with ASD in software testing jobs, and Wikipedia are also covered.There are many useful ideas in this book. It can give teachers and workers some great ideas that should help them to be more productive. The attention blindness comparison may have been used a bit often. Some of the issues explained by it may also be explained by glitches in other executive functions like monitoring, task initiation, and organization. Perceptual and emotional factors may also cause a person to miss important information in the environment, or interpret it in a manner which is not useful to him or her. I’m also not sure that I’m as confident as the author that our kids are “all right.” In any event, I got a lot out of this book. I recommend that you read it.

  • Zoe
    2019-01-25 18:13

    My roommate saw me reading this book on the couch yesterday and asked the reasonable "What'chya reading?" question, which took me several minutes to answer. Davidson says her book is a "field guide and survival manual for the digital age", but it's also a passionate argument against standardized testing in schools, a promising look at career opportunities for those with Asperger syndrome, and a wake-up call to all of us who passively engage with life-changing technology every day. So, it's kind of a book about everything - how we learn priorities as infants, how school prepares us for factory jobs that don't exist, how most offices are strange and inefficient places, how we heal better from injury when we're approaching a decade birthday, and how playing games might save the world. Davidson's a bit all over the place - but that's part of the fun. As a librarian, I've already recommended an excerpt of this book to a student doing research on the history of standardized testing. However, Davidson's book could be helpful to a student writing a paper about autism, iPods in the classroom, or the first (and only) hotel in the United States to earn Platinum LEED designation. This book is a nice complement to Nicholas Carr's "The Shallows" -- Carr is a bit like, "Whoa, watch out, our brains are changing because of technology and it's FREAKY!" and Davidson's like, "I know, isn't it awesome? Let's do this thing!"

  • John Mcelravy
    2019-02-05 17:53

    Davidson covers a lot of ground in Now You See It from learning disabilities to neurology to improving the classroom and the workplace. Definitely worth reading if any of those subjects fascinate you. Davidson, formerly of Duke University now with HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation, has had the opportunity to work on some intriguing projects including one where Duke students were given iPods and open-endedly told to find an "educational use" for them... which they did in really surprising and cool ways. She taught a class I wish I had the opportunity to take called Your Brain On The Internet where she was able to push the classroom envelope. She touches on gaming (think Jane McGonigal)in education. One of my favorite quotes from the book: Davidson is discussing how many people blame memory loss on getting older, so called "senior moments". She argues the science indicates that memory loss is more correllated to attitude than age on page 260"...statistically there is a greater correlation between confidence and memory than between age and memory. As Lachman summarizes, Ones sense of control is both a precursor and a consequence of age-related losses in memory...Anyone over the age of 25 needs to go back and parse that sentence. Lachman is saying that feeling confident and in control helps your memory; having a sense that your memory is good helps you have a good memory."