Designing Choreographies for the “New Economy of Attention”
June 8th, 2009

I’ve been particularly interested in literacies of attention ever since I started observing the way students in my classrooms treat the seductive distractions of wireless Internet access, so I was particularly interested in Designing Choreographies for the “New Economy of Attention” by Eric Gordon and David Bogen:

The nature of the academic lecture has changed with the introduction of wi-fi and cellular technologies. Interacting with personal screens during a lecture or other live event has become commonplace and, as a result, the economy of attention that defines these situations has changed. Is it possible to pay attention when sending a text message or surfing the web? For that matter, does distraction always detract from the learning that takes place in these environments? In this article, we ask questions concerning the texture and shape of this emerging economy of attention. We do not take a position on the efficiency of new technologies for delivering educational content or their efficacy of competing for users’ time and attention. Instead, we argue that the emerging social media provide new methods for choreographing attention in line with the performative conventions of any given situation. Rather than banning laptops and phones from the lecture hall and the classroom, we aim to ask what precisely they have on offer for these settings understood as performative sites, as well as for a culture that equates individual attentional behavior with intellectual and moral aptitude.

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