Plumbing the shallows of our mind

Downstairs from my office there is a big area where students hangout – you can frequently find students playing table tennis or cards. Today the students were talking about an online game. It reminded me of what I wrote about yesterday, when I linked to a couple of videos put together by an ethnographer in USA about the students today.

One of the most important issues I think the videos bring up is that the possibilities of distraction are so endless in our world these days. I’ve noticed it in my own mind – emails distract me, sms distract me, Facebook distracts me. I used to read books – mostly novels, sure – but books. With 200 pages. 400 pages. 600 pages. Now I read twitter. It’s 140 characters. When I get a bit of time, I go back and read the articles I’ve favorited, rarely more than 500 words at a time.

This is the thesis of a book that, totally ironically, I keep picking up and reading and putting down again: The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr. It’s (so far!) a fascinating read into how our brains are changing.

So I guess the point of this post is this: PASS and peer learning means that students are:

– connecting IRL (that’s in real life)

– helping IRL

– learning IRL

– growing IRL

We need this type of learning more than ever in this modern world where



oh wait I just got distracted by an email 🙂


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About Georgina Barratt-See

Georgina manages the UTS U:PASS (UTS Peer Assisted Study Success) program, which assists students in 50 first and second year subjects with study sessions run by trained student facilitators. Georgina has 14 years experience in the Higher Education sector with interests in student leadership, mentoring, first year experience, teaching and learning.

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