In February 2009 Time Magazine published an article about Doodling and it’s usefulness in the ability to pay attention. Here is a quote from that article: “Doodling, in contrast, requires very few executive resources but just enough cognitive effort to keep you from daydreaming, which — if unchecked — will jump-start activity in cortical networks that will keep you from remembering what’s going on.” During my undergraduate years I often doodled in class and it did help me listen much more attentively to what was happening class but as the educational sphere has changed and so has the medium for my classroom experience I have had to find other ways to avoid such distractions.
While in a distance classroom, there are many distractions, instant messaging, general internet browsing, sorting emails are just a few. Generally when I am just trying to pay attention and am not taking notes (because the class and notes are often available after class is over) I will get sleepy. To avoid this I have been playing an egame called Bubble Spinner from time to time.
I am not really a big gamer so outside of being in a situation where I need to pay attention I never play or think to open up this game. My essential motivation for playing this game where I am just breaking bubbles until I get to none, is to avoid other distractions that might occur and keep my mind alert enough to pay attention. It seems a bit silly to me to play this game when I’m not doing something else in fact, often it remind
s me of Bejewled another one of my favorite pass time games that I play while w
aiting for something on my mobile device.
This motivation factor of avoiding distractions or being able to do something so mindless it keeps our mind from wandering is not always thought about but critically important in some of our day to day operations where we have to pay attention for longer than 10 minutes or the next commercial break. Other games that fit this are Tetris, but that is timed which becomes problematic when I need to pause to pay attention to something. And while I love word games and Sudoku I realize that would take attention away from my actual class as it would require thinking.