cathy davidson on our industrial blinders

Cathy N Davidson
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Full Interview: Cathy N. Davidson on Evolving Education | Spark
"Enter Duke University professor Cathy N. Davidson, author of the new book Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. She believes that how we learn is a relic of 19th century values, and if it has any chance at relevancy, must embrace aspects of our digital lives that are normally shunned by scholars – technology, collaboration, and yes, even distraction."
attention blindness 
Attention blindness is a topic that could take a lot of room. (The attention blindness test is up at Brain Pickings: take the test (1+ minute) before reading on if you want to try it yourself. Do before reading on to experience the effect.

C.G. Jung thought our technical age was out of balance and too focused in a narrow way to be mentally healthy. The recent financial crisis has revealed deep inattention on the part of academia and journalism and has generated lots of discussion about how we can miss what's in front of us. (I track some of this and am interested in how peer dependence and credential structures homogenize our intellectual experience.) I also post about how alphabetic literacy may have side effects we are just beginning to understand.


ed history: testing 
Two clips from the interview [transcription is mine]:

" ... from about 1890 to 1920 that's when the second great industrial revolution is happening and virtually every institution you can think of in contemporary education is created at that time including such basics as IQ tests, multiple choice tests gets invented in 1914, grades, letter gardes, assigning grades, Mount Holoyoke College is the first college to actually give someone a A, B, C, D grade ... so we're right on time to do that unlearning, of saying, ok, what we think of as school and what we think of as work were invented ... so now we have to think about and this is attention-blindness ... and how can we make better institutions for this world ....

"Poor Frederick Kelly invented the multiple choice test in 1914 because there was a crisis in the United States. There was a war on, men were in the war, women were in the factories, , immigrants were pouring in, we had a crisis. He said, well, wait, Ford is turning out cars on the assembly line, what would be the equivalent .... and there was a new law requiring secondary education .... within 4 years Kelly doesn't even want credit for inventing .... he goes on to ... renounce standardized testing ... the same thing happened to Binet .... and both creators [multiple choice tests, IQ tests] renounced them .... "

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