Now You See It
How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn
By Cathy N. Davidson
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670022823, 352pp.)
Publication Date: August 18, 2011
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A digital innovator shows how we can thrive in the new technological age.
When Cathy Davidson and Duke University gave free iPods to the freshman class in 2003, critics said they were wasting their money. Yet when students in practically every discipline invented academic uses for their music players, suddenly the idea could be seen in a new light-as an innovative way to turn learning on its head.
This radical experiment is at the heart of Davidson's inspiring new book. Using cutting-edge research on the brain, she shows how "attention blindness" has produced one of our society's greatest challenges: while we've all acknowledged the great changes of the digital age, most of us still toil in schools and workplaces designed for the last century. Davidson introduces us to visionaries whose groundbreaking ideas-from schools with curriculums built around video games to companies that train workers using virtual environments-will open the doors to new ways of working and learning. A lively hybrid of Thomas Friedman and Norman Doidge, Now You See It is a refreshingly optimistic argument for a bold embrace of our connected, collaborative future.
"In her galvanic new book, Ms. Davidson, one of the nation’s great digital minds, has written an immensely enjoyable omni-manifesto. Rooted in . . . rigorous history, philosophy and science, this book . . . doubles as an optimistic, even thrilling, summer read.”
-Virginia Hefferman, New York Times
?"A remarkable new book Now You See It offers a fresh and reassuring perspective on how to manage anxieties about the bewildering pace of technological change. . . . Her work is the most powerful yet to insist that we can … manage the impact of these changes.”
-Anya Kamenetz, Fast Company
"The author takes us on a journey through contemporary classrooms and offices to describe how they are changing—or, according to her, should change. . . .Now You See It is filled with instructive anecdotes and genuine insights."
-Mark Changizi, Wall Street Journal
"Her book 'Now You See It' celebrates the brain as a lean, mean, adaptive multitasking machine that — with proper care and feeding — can do much more than our hidebound institutions demand of it. . . Davidson is such a good storyteller, and her characters are well drawn."
-Christopher Chabris, New York Times
“Davidson has produced an exceptional and critically important book, one that is all-but-impossible to put down and likely to shape discussions for years to come.” [Top 10 Science Book, Fall 2011]
“Humorous, poignant, entertaining, endearing, touching and challenging. It is a book I would happily recommend to anyone engaged in teaching at any level … It is devised to convince readers that the human mind is ready for the next quantum advance into our collective future.”
-Steve Wheeler, Book of the Week, Times Higher Education
“Practice Collaboration by Difference: This idea is stolen directly from Cathy N. Davidson's marvelous book, Now You See It. . . .If innovation is our goal then we must pay careful attention to the diversity of the people around our project tables.”
-Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed
“A preview of the future from an educational innovator... it is becoming clear that our minds are capable of multitasking to a degree far beyond what the 20th-century assembly-line worker or middle manager was trained to do....[Davidson's] points are worth pondering.”
“There is an emerging consensus that higher education has to change significantly, and Davidson makes a compelling case for the ways in which digital technology, allied with neuroscience, will play a leading role in that change.”
-William Pannapacker, Chronicle of Higher Education
“[Davidson] makes a provocative case for radical educational and business reforms. . . . Davidson's call to experiment with digital schemes that turn students and workers into motivated problem solvers rings as clear as a bell atop a little red schoolhouse."
-Bruce Bower, Science News
“The book's purpose and strength are in detailing the important lessons we can glean from the online world. If Davidson is right, 21st-century society will move away from categorizing people based on standardized tests, which are crude measures of intelligence at best. Instead we will define new metrics, ones that are better aligned with the skills needed to succeed in the shifting global marketplace. And those who cannot embrace this multidisciplinary world will simply be left behind.”
-Brian Mossop, Scientific American
“Davidson's claim that mono-tasking (the idea that a person can focus on one single task at hand) is an unrealistic model of how the brain works, seems strikingly persuasive. Davidson also calls for a reform in education . . . [that] helps kids become multitasking, problem-solving thinkers."
-Sophie Duvernoy, LA Weekly
“The technological changes around us are of unprecedented proportions... In this book Cathy Davidson integrates findings from psychology, attention, neuroscience, and learning theory to help us get a glimpse of the future and more importantly a better understanding of our own individual potential."
-Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational
“Now You See It is simply fantastic. Only Cathy Davidson could pull off such a sweeping book. It is about so much more than just education or even learning. It is about a way of being. Her book and stories are incredibly important for the true arc of life learning and for constantly becoming!"
-John Seely Brown, author of A New Culture of Learning
“Cathy Davidson has one of the most interesting and wide ranging minds in contemporary scholarship, a mind that ranges comfortably over literary arts, literacy, psychology, and brain science... Her ambitious and timely book is certain to attract a lot of attention and to catalyze many discussions.”
-Howard Gardner, Harvard University
"One cutting edge of educational practice is participatory learning…and one frontier of brain research is what is happening to our attention in the always-on era. Cathy Davidson is a natural to bring together these neuroscientific and educational themes."
-Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs and Net Smart