November 09, 2010

Do I Have Your Attention?

This is one of my favourite moments in the film, The Social Network, that has been remixed as a beautifully produced piece of Prezi, filmed, and set against the dialogue from the film. It's let down by an apostrophe that doesn't belong and a lack of dictionary or spellcheck use, infuriating since the rest of it is rather clever.

Update: a corrected version and the backstory published now on this blog.

While we're thinking about attention, how often do schools and teachers assume the attention of youngsters, of parents, of our colleagues? My gut feel: nearly all the time.

  • We assume that learners want to learn because they chose subjects.
  • We assume that learners will want to learn because we like the way we do something.
  • We assume parents care about their child's education.
  • We assume that our colleagues want to learn how to do their jobs better/differently.
  • We assume that adults know how to learn on their own.
  • We assume that chuldren don't know how to learn on their own.
  • ...

We need to work consistently at gaining attention, retaining attention and turning that attention into value, much in the same way as a tech startup like Facebook would do (check out Dave McClure's busy but genius presentation on attention and metrics if you want to delve more into how). I'm fairly convinced that somewhere in these tech startup metrics are the assessment tools for the new forms of learning that are emerging, but fighting against assessment structures of old that don't fit anymore.

And in using new metrics to measure success, we can engage in new learning with more confidence, new learning that is almost certainly more likely to get the attention of those around us.


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How many times has that question " Do I have your full attention" been asked in an average classroom?

Asked by teachers- loads of times.

Asked by students - rarely if ever.

This question can also relate to teachers blind to the needs of the students in the way that they wish to learn.

With 25 students (or more) in a classroom, a teacher can never give a student their full attention but when the curriculum gets more attention than students over a year, it is easy for the students to offer the minimum amount of their attention.

Perjur is also glaringly incorrectly spelled.

I think the questions might be- "What are you doing to earn my attention?" and "What can you do for yourself if your attention is not being attracted?" (let's put some responsibility on all).

Also, I wont quibble with spellings in the video, but its not prezi, but done in After Effects. It does strike me as an interesting assignment to animate a scene form a movie via typographic animation.

A ha, Alan. Thanks for the clarification on the software and, yes, wouldn't it make a great structured digital storytelling type task.

Technically speaking, this type of typography animation is also referred to as Illuminated Text. Some wonderful examples here:
I also know that the lastest version of PPT offers some less complex ways of accomplishing this.

Once again, you've got me thinking. Thinking about attention.

Thanks for featuring my video in your blog. Yes, it's embarrassing the errors in it (even though I did check for errors, seems not hard enough) I made the changes and will be re-uploading it.

The video was done in Adobe After Effects in a style called "Kinetic Typography" which, essentially, is just moving type. The original layout was done in Adobe Illustrator then animated in AE.

Great topic of conversation by the way.

Thanks again.

Angel - thanks so much for leaving a comment, and for producing such a great video. Hopefully you take the feedback in a positive sense. I should've left a comment on the YouTube so you'd get it quicker and more constructively. Me bad.

Glad you're a) uploading a fresh version and b) that you've stimulated some good debate on the attention gap that's emerged since, indeed, Facebook was invented! :-)

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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