Now You See It Summary of critiques

CRITICISM #1

"NOT ABOUT BRAIN SCIENCE"

"... but there is almost no brain science in the book at all, and attention is invoked mainly as a metaphor." - Christopher F. Chabris (New York Times)

"Readers will very quickly recognize that this book is not specifically about psychology or brain science, nor does it dwell overly on other cerebral processes." - Steve Wheeler (Times Higher Education)

"She's been critiqued for glossing over the neurological concepts that have made this subject so murky to date." - Sophie Duvernoy (LA Weekly)

MY VIEW

I agree that the brain science is extremely limited and definitely concentrated in the first part of the book. There is more psychology in the text, but I was disappointed by the lack of explanation of neurological, biological and psychological processes and their connection to attention.

CRITICISM #2

"IGNORES EVIDENCE ABOUT MULTI-TASKING, IQ TESTING AND NATURE v/s NURTURE"

"... the results of experiments showing that for all but perhaps an elite 2 to 3 percent of subjects, doing things in sequence leads to better performance than trying to do them simultaneously." - Christopher F. Chabris (New York Times)

"'Human cognition is ill-suited both for attending to multiple input streams and for simultaneously performing multiple tasks,' Nass has written. Nass's research has found that heavy multitaskers are actually less effective at filtering out irrelevant information and at shifting their attention among tasks than others" - Annie Murphy Paul (Slate)

"Davidson starts with the mistaken assertion that I.Q. refers to a purely innate cognitive ability, and then says that the “inherited component to I.Q.” is not genetic but “inherited cultural privilege.” Both claims are contradicted by virtually every relevant study ever conducted" - Christopher F. Chabris (New York Times)

"Experiments have shown that newborns only minutes old choose to focus on human faces over inanimate objects and will even imitate simple gestures like sticking out the tongue." - Annie Murphy Paul (Slate)

MY VIEW

Yes, absolutely, I agree with these criticisms. My own book review was hugely concerned by the author's inaccurate generalizations and perceptions of multitasking. Also, the IQ testing portions were highly questionable because of the variety of current testing options, especially when it comes to multiple intelligences.

CRITICISM #3

"TOO OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION AND ALL THINGS NEW"

"... occasionally overly optimistic and ambitious in her reading of the role of education in a digital world." - Steve Wheeler (Times Higher Education)

"Davidson may oversell the revolution in thinking—there’s a lot of cheer-leading here." - Kirkus Review

"... Davidson veers uncomfortably close to a Utopian view of the digital revolution" - Bruce Bower (Science News)

"She is easily moved to rapture and to dismay, propelled by an enthusiasm for anything new and digital... an almost allergic aversion to any practices or artifacts from the pre-Internet era" - Annie Murphy Paul (Slate)

MY VIEW

I personally cannot relate to these reviews. I did not find Davidson to be obscenely optimistic, and I appreciated all of her numerous and specific examples of how the digital world might enhance education.

CRITICISM #4

"IGNORING CONTINUITIES AND COMMONALITY BETWEEN GENERATIONS AND FOCUSING ONLY ON THE DIFFERENCES"

"Thinkers like Davidson who insist on difference and disjunction, on a chasm between then and now, us and them, overlook important continuities that call such accounts into serious question" - Annie Murphy Paul (Slate)

"There is the essential sameness, first of all, of the neural architecture of all humans, both young and old... Members of the Internet generation aren't some exotic new breed of human, in other words. They're simply the young of the same species" - Annie Murphy Paul (Slate)

MY VIEW

Again, I disagree. Her work was the opposite of ageist, as part 4 clearly details! In fact, I think the author went to great lengths to show how the generations are alike with the same propensity for change and progress. What she was really linking was education and the working environment and how these have shifted from one age to the next. We must consider how something like the industrial age can actually span several generations.

POSITIVE #1

"CONSTRUCTIVELY CHALLENGES ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT EDUCATION"

"there is an emerging consensus that higher education has to change significantly, and Davidson makes a compelling case for the ways in which digital technology, allied with neuroscience, will play a leading role in that change." - William Pannapacker (The Chronicle)

"Still, despite its conflicted allegiances, Davidson’s Now You See It is a clarion call for educators to radically revise the ways we invite students to learn." - Andrew Battista (Libraries and the Academy, JHU)

"Her critique of higher education is that of an insider who wants to reform and improve the system, not blow it up" - Joshua Kim (Inside Higher Ed)

"...but the better question is whether the form of learning and knowledge-making we are instilling in our children is useful to their future. In her galvanic new book, “Now You See It,” Ms. Davidson asks, and ingeniously answers, that question. " - Virginia Heffernan (New York Times)

MY VIEW

I am most pleased that the author made such convincing efforts to say that most of current educational systems are not only lacking but doing today's students a disservice in preparing them for the realities of the future. I feel this way daily when I consider the types of assessments and archaic styles of teaching I have and continue to witness in learning institutions around the world.

POSITIVE #2

"OPTIMISTIC - OFFERS HOPE AND REASSURANCE TO DEAL WITH ANXIETIES ABOUT TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE"

"Fresh, reassuring perspective on how to manage anxieties about the bewildering pace of technological change" - Anya Kamenetz (Fast Company)

"... tackles these issues with a radically optimistic stance, and whether or not Davidson's neurological claims will still hold up in several years, it's good to have an author chart out a positive course for our lives with technology." - Sophie Duvernoy (LA Weekly)

"... this book about education happens to double as an optimistic, even thrilling, summer read. It supplies reasons for hope about the future" - Virginia Heffernan (New York Times)

MY VIEW

100%, yes! Positivity is always appreciated, especially in terms of something that seems to be a permanent fixture in our human evolution. Some of her optimism is misguided, but some of it is definitely possible and supported by her recorded observations of successful, digitally enhanced classroom instruction and assessment.

POSITIVE #3

"GOOD FIRST-HAND REPORTS OF INNOVATION IN CLASSROOM AND WORKPLACE"

"... she has some interesting first-person reports to make on schools and businesses that have adopted innovative practices like complex simulation and strategy games." - Christopher F. Chabris (New York Times)

"As scholarly as “Now You See It” is — as rooted in field experience, as well as rigorous history, philosophy and science" - Virginia Heffernan (New York Times)

"... this account is peppered liberally with personal anecdotes and is laced with empirical evidence from psychological studies. Indeed, Davidson has taken great care in achieving this fine balance" - Steve Wheeler (Times Higher Education)

"She presents vivid examples of schools and workplaces unleashing learning and achievement" - Sophie Duvernoy (LA Weekly)

MY VIEW

This was by far and away my favorite part about the read. The first-person accounts and stories she shared about her own innovations, personal experiences and her observations of other educators' remarkable achievements. I found the workplace elements rather repetitive and not very convincing because, really, there are far too many work environments out there these days to make such sweeping generalizations.

THE END

Created By
Joanna Brown
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