Time and time again we’ve heard the generalizations that our generation (Millennials & Generation Z) have short attention spans and how we feel like we always need to be using technology 24/7. Ok, Boomer. Jokes aside, there’s more to us then just short attention spans and the tech we use.
Our generation learns with hyper attention unlike how our parents and professors learned. They grew up being able to sit down to read Pride & Prejudice, for however many hours it took. Then write a crazy long papers about how she did this, that, and the other. Us on the other hand, we would probably just skim through the chapters, then double check on sparknotes, and maybe watch the movie to see what’s really up with Mr.Darcy.
When our professors were obtaining their doctorates, the majority of their tasks required deep attention thinking. Due to their upbringing in deep attention learning, they still try to teach to us as though we will respond to it the same way they did. Although, many professors are starting to acknowledge our generation’s lack of gusto for these long novels and have started to lean towards assigning short stories as a hyper attention alternative. Some teachers will even include links to summary videos or will do kahoots to prep for a test.
Nowadays, regarding the current college student’s mentality towards deep attention tasks I think John Mulaney sums it up at his performance at Radio City Music Hall in 2018 when he said, “I paid $120,000 for someone to tell me to go read Jane Austen and then I didn’t.” Today instead of sitting down through these long (and mostly boring) tasks that require deep attention, we use hyper attention tools to divvy up the load. Our generation has adapted to deep attention lessons with hyper attention tools. We use tools that have multiple options of learning, such as practice tests, short summary videos, learning games, etc. We have found ways to incorporate our hyper attention into our learning habits.
Some hyper attention tools are:
- Sparknotes- is used for getting summaries of chapters & learning overarching ideas
- Quizlet– is an online flashcards website. That not only allows you to type up definitions, but gives you the option to create practice tests or use games as a way of memorizing your material.
- Crashcourse– is a youtube channel that provides summaries of certain lessons and events regarding various subjects.
- Khan Academy– has tutorials on various stem subjects and SAT test taking techniques.
- Kahoot.it – is used as an interactive competitive game to test your knowledge, usually a tool used by teachers for their classes.
If you want to learn more about hyper and deep attention check out what N. K atherine Hayles has to further explain and say.