At one time, I used to worry about students who couldn't focus on one vertical speaking human at the front of the classroom. Now I'm afraid I've turned into one of those beings that is 'wired for inattention'.
Rather than having deficits in attention, learners today seem to have surpluses of attention, in that we are constantly in search of compelling input. With our minds becoming accustomed to multi-sensory content, our brains seem unwilling to accept input on just one channel.
Not that I'm the only one multitasking. More and more, my 'always on' brain has shared it's impatience with the computer. Rendering while downloading; installing while editing; burning while browsing... maybe more efficient computers are contributing to my rewiring? Remember when we had to have patience when installing from tape drives, or floppy disks?
Replay is only a click away in the random access world wide web; in my ipod's synchronous memory; in the auto-recording live feed of my personal video recorder. In relying on these technologies, I've even found myself pausing to rewind my own 'linear life' to the interesting bits.
A sad consequence of this multi-attentional state, is that I always feel like I'm missing out on something; when in fact, I'm missing out on everything! Trawling for captivating input through multiple 'channels', and relying upon 'rewind' as a form of memory, has limited my ability to be fully present to any singular experience.
Only the most engaging conversation or the most intellectually stimulating task, seem able to capture my full attention. Knowing that it is in attending to the nuances, that one truly captures the richness of life, I'm coming to realize that I'll have to make a more conscious effort to give my fullest attention to each individual person/event/task in order to appreciate its majesty!
Photo Credit: Gregory Marton