Restoring Our Attention

Restoring Our Attention

Restoring Our Attention

Presented by Beck Tench
Friday, July 24th, 2020, 3pm – 4pm EDT/12pm – 1pm PDT
No charge for ACMHE members / $17.50 for non-members (learn more about joining ACMHE)

ACMHE members: You can view the most recent recordings on the ACMHE member portal.

At a time of pandemic and civil unrest, many of us are glued to our devices, doomscrolling with anticipation for the worst to come. We rely on technology more than ever before to connect to each other, our students, our families. How do we use it wisely? And how do we manage and protect our attention when our lifeline to the outside world is designed to exploit it?

In this webinar, we will take a look at the market forces that incentivize technology to distract and manipulate us. We’ll consider the consequences of chronic distraction in the short and long term, across individuals and society as a whole. And then we’ll look to attention restoration theory (ART) for ideas about what to do differently.

ART is a theory that helps us understand how our attention is depleted and restored. At UW, I used ART in an undergraduate design methods course to frame the design of restorative spaces and experiences on the University of Washington’s campus. In the process, students showed promising signs of changing their behaviors and attitudes with technology. We’ll learn about several of the practices we used in the class, many of which were contemplative in nature. We’ll also consider how these practices, and a design-framing, might help us and our students use technology differently.

Beck TenchBeck Tench is a wife, daughter, friend, teacher, gardener, cyclist, kind stranger, and PhD candidate at the University of Washington Information School. She researches how public space and technology can be designed to restore attention and facilitate contemplative experience. Through her work, she hopes to help us develop skills and a greater capacity for accessing personal wisdom; connecting with others through compassion and friendship, improving the quality of our lives through awareness of life as we’re living it, and mitigating or minimizing the harms of attention-driven digital culture. Beck was formally trained as a designer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent her career before returning to academia helping museums, libraries, and nonprofits embrace risk-taking, creativity, and change through technology and personal space-making. Her work from that time was mentioned in the New York Times, National Public Radio, Scientific American, and several books and blogs.

About ACMHE Webinars

The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) is an initiative of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (CMind). The ACMHE’s webinars allow you to view a live presentation online; you can listen to the presenter over your computer speakers, headphones, or VOIP headset, or by dialing in to the audio with your phone. Questions and comments may be submitted to the presenters during the webinar.

Starting June 1, 2020, the ACMHE Contemplative Education Webinar series is free for ACMHE members (join the ACMHE) and $17.50 for non-members. Registration income is shared with webinar presenters. A recording of the webinar will be shared with registrants and ACMHE members.

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