David Levy interviewed on KUOW Weekday

iSchool Professor David Levy was interviewed today by Steve Scher on KUOW's Weekday about his work teaching students to focus their attention when distractions are everywhere. The interview was sparked by a recent article on Levy in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Levy used the example of crossing a street to identify the kinds of skills that would cross-over to other times where focus is important, such as being at work and reading an email. He categorized these skills as first, focusing attention on the task at hand; second, having an open awareness about other things going on around you; and finally, taking a conscious decision whether or not a particular distraction needs attention. Is a car running a red light so you have to jump out of the way? Or is everyone stopped for you at the crosswalk and you are good to go? It is a more complex issue than that, but in an age of constant digital distractions, it is helpful to draw parallels to things that we do all the time.

In his course Information and Contemplation, he teaches students how contemplative practices might serve as a lens to observe and critique current information practices, and to investigate problems such as information overload, the fragmentation of attention, and the busyness and acceleration of everyday life.

Listen to the interview, which starts at 11:40 and lasts until 25:40 minutes into the broadcast.