ETEC 511: IP#8 – Attention

This assignment includes a requirement to do an attentional record. Here’s that:

TimeActivityDistractions
9-10Work tasks, email, tickets,Moving from task to task – completed chunks then moved to different task  
10-11Work meetingCataloging was a distractions
11-1211-11:30 lunch 11:30 – 12 work tasks, email, MS TeamsMoving from task to task – completed chunks then moved to different task  
12-1Work meetingDiscussion raised some questions that I searched for. MS Teams message came in from another team member, answered it  
1-2Work meeting (different) 
2-3Video Interview (2-6)Needed to be present during this, phone turned off, no distractions
3-4  
4-5  
5-6  
6-7Dinner prep and dinner, finish workNo phone/computer during dinner prep, work required focus and attention
7-8TV (listen to TV, not actively engaged)Doodle on phone, check email, play games
8-9TV (listen to TV, not actively engaged)Doodle on phone, check email, play games
Attentional Record

This is a bit of a curious exercise as it wants you to turn this data into some visual, but all my visual storytelling skills tell me that it’s not going to add any sort of additional information and abstracting this information one step further is actually obfuscating the information and making analysis harder. So I’m not going to do that.

This exercise for me was interesting, as the exercise was more distracting than my normal process. Typically, I am not a distracted person. I quite often choose not to look at my phone, or check email, or get distracted from what I am doing. If I am “distracted” chances are I’m bored (which is also how I relax, just not pay attention to anything, and stop being actively engaged). Setting out an activity where I have to pay attention to my attention – well, that’s going to be a recipe to double down my already disciplined approach to work, tasks and life. So, I don’t know that I have some great revelatory technique to deal with distractions – I’m not some ascetic monk, I just believe that being in the moment and present is important. In many ways, that’s what Citton (2017) is talking about in the Joint Attention section of the book – “we are always attentive in a particular situation.” (p. 83) In educational situations, attention varies depending on the student and their role – as if attention is social and co-constructed. However, there’s some social norms that drive attention (albeit younger students might adhere to this better than middle school students – who are more likely to be testing social norms). While I don’t necessarily agree that attention is co-constructed, it is (and our current social media world confirms) most certainly socially constructed. Peer groups can “pay attention” to certain musical acts, and ensuring you know those musical acts ensures your social status. Those relationships are social. Families and friends are often the most important people to drive attention and, in my chart, the times where I’m with friends and family, are also the ones where my attention is most undivided.

That sounds so high and mighty to write… but it’s true. The attention that I pay has the most value when I value the people around me. Thinking beyond this particular chart, but into the territory when I do use my phone for entertainment – it’s in transit, between places, and alone.

I will also say that Citton missing out on Neil Postman’s critiques of mass media for entertainment (and thus attention) is a gap that I paid attention to after reading the chapter.

Conversation Prism

It’s been a while, so it’s only appropriate that I start speaking again with a post on the Conversation Prism. It’s now up to version three, and this one is an improvement over previous versions – this one is more specific in it’s categorization. Gone are SMS/Voice from version 1.0,  and it still doesn’t address the community based music genres like SoundCloud and Bandcamp – where I think important music conversations are occurring.

A couple of large tools are missing – Plurk, Netvibes to name two that come to the top of my head in a moments notice. While I don’t think the new category Attention/Communication Dashboards add anything to the conversation other than a central location to read distributed feeds, if you’re going to have it in there, Netvibes and Google Reader are the two top ones, to not mention them is a pretty large omission. Plurk was on the previous Conversation Prism 1.0, under the category of Micromedia, but could easily fit under Blogs/Conversation. Twitter is not really a Streaming tool, even their own description is Microblogging platform, so I quibble about the categorization of a lot of these tools.

Despite my criticisms, it’s a monumental effort, one that I might shell out $20 to put on my wall. In fact it would be interesting to get older versions and compare them side by side. Where’s my time machine when I need one?