with David Levy
Today’s digital devices and apps are both powerful and powerfully distracting. Indeed, it has become increasingly clear that they can serve both as instruments of learning and connection, on the one hand, and of distraction and disconnection, on the other. The challenge we face is to use them to their best advantage, and to ours, and to understand when to use them and when to abstain from them. For a number of years, through his research and teaching, David Levy has been developing methods to help students, teachers, and staff investigate and improve their relationship with their devices and apps. At the heart of this work is the application of mindfulness, which invites people to observe their own online behavior—its effects on their minds and bodies—as the basis for discovering how to make healthy and effective changes. In this presentation, Levy will describe the exercises he has created over ten years of teaching as well as the philosophy underlying them, and will illustrate the meaningful changes students make with excerpts from their written reflections. This pedagogical approach thus demonstrates how distraction and disconnection, when mindfully observed, can serve as the source of greater learning and liberation.
David M. Levy is Professor at the Information School, University of Washington, Seattle. He earned his Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University and a diploma in calligraphy and bookbinding from the Roehampton Institute, London. For twenty years he was a researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), exploring the transition from paper and print to digital media. At the UW since 2000, he has focused on bringing mindfulness training and other contemplative practices to address problems of information overload and acceleration. He is the author of two books: Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age (Arcade, 2001/new ed. 2016) and Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives (Yale, 2016).