Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Attention seeking?

Howard Rheingold, an old hippy? I found myself distracted by the trees blowing in the wind outside his porch. And then I checked my Blackberry for Twitter updates. So I guess that all constitutes absent presence or maybe multitasking, which being male I’m supposed to be rather bad at. His musings reminded me of Lanham’s notions of the attention economy which Colin and Michele have used so effectively in their work. But somehow in this whole area there’s something really fundamental about learners and learning. If learning is an act of communication (see yesterday’s post), then interest and some sort of selective attention is a precondition. In my work I use the term attentive noticing to try to capture this. Gunther Kress has also started talking about this and makes the interesting observation that the learner’s interest doesn’t always (or hardly ever does) coincide with pedagogical intentions. So are learning and teaching really loose-coupled? And is assessment, the recognition of learning, the tie that institutions use in attempts to bind together learning and teaching as if to jealously preserve the illusion that unruly subjects are harmoniously working towards a common shared goal?

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