David Levy’s research and teaching has increasingly attracted the attention of national media. Levy is a professor at the University of Washington Information School (iSchool).
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently sent a journalist to interview Levy and attend his class, ‘Information and Contemplation’, to report about his work on the distracting nature of technology and what we can do about it.
The result is an in-depth profile on how Levy puts his research into practice, both in the classroom and in his personal life.
“I have taught at the iSchool since 2001 where I have mainly been investigating the challenge of achieving contemplative balance–how as individuals and as a society we might live healthy, reflective, and productive life while participating in an accelerating, information-saturated culture,” says Levy on his website.
Levy’s most recent research, published in 2012, shows that people who receive meditation training report less stress and increased abilities to concentrate at work. He has his students meditate at the beginning of every class and he gives them assignments to help them realize the distracting nature of technology.
“It seems so simple to just observe how you do email or observe how you multitask between two things,” said Meran Hill, an iSchool Informatics student interviewed for the Chronicle article.
“But when you take a video of yourself doing it and then review it later, you notice all kinds of weird habits you have. We’re really unconscious when we use technology, this class is helping bring that consciousness back – of just how zoned out I am.”
Michael Conyers, an iSchool master of library and information science student, says in the same article that “meditation gives you a resent button. I’m clearing my mind so I can give my full attention to what is going to be happening next.”
Levy gave a no-credit version of his course to iSchool staff, faculty and students winter term. He makes himself available to give lectures and workshops at other universities and institutes.
Read the Chronicle article, published March 24, 2013, "You're Distracted. This Professor Can Help."