When we encounter a mismatch between our values and some new experience, we have a choice to either hold on to our values against all the evidence, to insist they are right or natural no matter what; or we can rethink them and even reject them, a process that can be smooth or traumatic, partial or complete. In any case, this process is a key component of the science of attention
To live is to be in a constant state of adjustment. We can change by accident—because we have to, because life throws us a curveball. But we can also train ourselves to be aware of our own neural processing—repetition, selection, mirroring—and arrange our lives so we have the tools and the partners we need to help us to see what we might miss on our own
The Internet is here to stay. Are we teaching them in a way that will prepare them for a world of learning and for human relationships in which they interweave their interests into the vast, decentralized, yet entirely interconnected content online?
Crowdsourced thinking is very different from credentialing, or relying on top-down expertise. If anything, crowdsourcing is suspicious of expertise, because the more expert we are, the more likely we are to be limited in what we even conceive to be the problem, let alone the answer
No matter how expert we are, no matter how brilliant, we can improve, we can learn, by sharing insights and working together collectively
The real issue isn’t that our schools are too challenging. It’s the opposite. Among the top quartile of high school students, the most frequent complaint and cause of disaffection from schooling is boredom and lack of rigor. That also happens to be true among the lowest group, for whom low expectations lead to low motivation
To be prepared for jobs that have a real future in the digital economy, one needs an emphasis on creative thinking, at all levels. By this I mean the kind of thinking that cannot be computerized and automated. This creative thinking requires attention to surprise, anomaly, difference, and disruption, and an ability to switch focus, depending on what individual, unpredictable problems might arise. Perhaps surprisingly, these noncomputational jobs, impervious to automation, occur at all levels across the blue-collar and white-collar spectrum
Intrinsic to inquiry-based learning, there’s a “gamer disposition,” which is to say a real commitment to learning that goes far beyond school to the cultivation of “risk-taking, critical reflection, collaboration, meaning creation, non-linear navigation, problem solving and problem definition, and innovation.”
Collaboration by difference is an antidote to attention blindness. It signifies that the complex and interconnected problems of our time cannot be solved by anyone alone and that those who think they can act in an entirely focused, solitary fashion are undoubtedly missing the main point that is right there in front of them, thumping its chest and staring them in the face
We need to measure practical, real-world skills, such as how to focus attention through project and time management. There is no punch clock in do-it-yourself culture, so where do kids learn how to manage themselves?