Attention to attention in an always-on world
July 11th, 2008

My first attempt at creating a teaching and learning widget via Sproutbuilder:

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Be Sociable, Share!
Be Sociable, Share!
1 - Sue Wolff

I have long thought and was delighted to hear you say,”Attention is the fundamental building block….”

You captured my attention by being one of the first to write books about virtual community, then by announcing on Twitter your first use of Sproutbuilder. Phenomenal tool! It’s my first time hearing or seeing it, and I am inspired to try it out perhaps to add my first rich media to my site. (Interesting the role firstness plays in attention.)

2 - Tom Whyte

You might also like widget box, have had success with it, that I could not do with sproutbuilder.

I love this. I made a widget to promote…well….myself. This application is going to be very useful to build a self-propelled media network. Create content and allow people to post it via widget. Great stuff. Thanks for tweeting this.

4 - Carrie Achilles

Have you read ‘The Power of Mindful Learning’ by Ellen Langer. She talks about how to self create attention by how you use your body while you learn and how to use semantics when you teach to allow students to be able to access your information easier. Small but potent work.

Thank you, Carrie. I ordered it.

6 - Kevin Russell

Goal Directedness Roy Pea {seesmic_video:{“url_thumbnail”:{“value”:””}”title”:{“value”:”Goal Directedness Roy Pea ”}”videoUri”:{“value”:””}}}

7 - Kevin Russell

Great first attempt Howard and great subject! this is something I’ve struggled with and I’m actively working on since delving into hypermedia and the Internet in 1988. I wanted to mention something that has stuck with me all these years since; I read Dr. Roy Pea’s research article on ‘Goal Directedness and Hypermedia’ while in grad school and just found him recently at Stamford so he’s close to you, and now this

Thank you, Kevin. Very interesting. I’d like to put together elements of a curriculum and invite others to help me assemble resources. Eventually, some time this Fall, there will be a place to assemble such resources — and discuss them — on the Social Media Classroom community of practice.

9 - Alana

I come to this social media world only in the last couple of months, as I became disgruntled with online education that merely repeats the mistakes of the industrialized classroom (not that our students seem to mind).

I tend to believe that one discipline we need to develop is to let things pass us by. To keep our mindfulness on pre-established values of what (for us) is a quality life. Then as we move through increasingly complex interactions online we learn to let some things go un-investigated.

In a less complex world I was trained that rigor meant following thread in a problem. Web 2.0 and the future of education (my personal research) has many threads (tools etc) that go no where. Thus intuition, connectedness, etc. go up in the hierarchy of discipline as the potential to follow all leads goes down.

I think this will lead to a slow (probably VERY slow given the overall speed of academia) reworking of what is considered “good” research practice. For instance, how can any dissertation topic today hope to be “current” in its lit review by the time it is published?

Thanks for asking a provocative question.

10 - marina

Looking fwd to it Howard. The way this widget enables simply clicking on the links and RSS Feed selection is just amazing. Easy to use… no excuse for learners.
Are u thinking of feedback area tag for readers/learners contributing to some type of common URL/feeds cloud? Currently this is done via commenting posts and the wiki. But how about having a diigo / type area for networking URL’s into a common pool? That would allow leads as alt to the wiki experience in parallel, which will probably evolve more in depth comments.

Here’s a phenomenon that I’ve found very fascinating in this realm, which really hasn’t been explored enough, and which recently I’ve seen almost zero writing around: What happens with attention when groups delve into collaborative notetaking.

I’ve experienced this through an app called Subethaedit, most intensely during a 4(ish) month long design and strategy consulting project I was part of. Our client was a huge East Coast corporation and we used a 5ish-person team of consultants. (The number varied some weeks). Each week we would spend several days at their headquarters, and much of that time was spent giving and receiving presentations to/from different executives and groups within the client company.

The consultants all used Subethaedit and in this context it was an extremely useful tool and it was a lot of fun to use. It took a bit of getting used to, but I was surprised at how quickly we all adapted to the tool and recognized each person’s strengths and interests, on the fly. (For instance: One person’s the fastest typist and detail-focused so is great with getting down quotes verbatim; one’s great with recognizing, clarifying, shortening and summarizing the main points; one’s great with grouping and categorizing; one’s great with detecting important nonverbal cues and intuition re: client organizational and personal politics; one’s great with big-picture strategic thinking, contextualizing and extrapolating takeaway points and suggestions as to what we should do next, etc.)

Each person on the team was particularly strong with 1 or 2 or 3 of the above skills, and we each quickly honed in on our strengths, without ever discussing what we were doing; it just happened intuitively. Each of us was confident in the fact that he/she didn’t have to attempt everything at once (and therefore to do a mediocre job at everything). What’s more, any member of the team could break off from notetaking at any time to talk to the client, present slides, or sketch concepts on a whiteboard; the rest of the team would cover for her in focusing and documenting and strategizing.

So our attention was fragmented in one sense, but overall it was much more focused and effective. It was a unique and thrilling experience and this is a realm that will see a lot more innovation and much wider adoption I think. Our team DID have good chemstry though; I’d love to learn whether this would work as well in other contexts and with other groups. But it’s something that needs more exploration.

Good question, Marina. The feed is from but it could be from tag/attention or tag/#widget

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