Nov 282011

“The fact is, the radio frequencies that are assigned for aviation use are separate from commercial use,” Mr. Altschul said. “Plus, the wiring and instruments for aircraft are shielded to protect them from interference from commercial wireless devices.”

Mr. Dorr reluctantly agreed. “There have never been any reported accidents from these kinds of devices on planes,” he said.

Uh, don’t people get it? Of COURSE it has nothing to do with the interference of frequencies. This is just a guess — but here is my logic of thought:

1- The majority of mechanical or other problems that arise during a flight happen during take-off and landing — btw, I have no stats on this, so please prove me wrong — this is based purely on my own observation of news items involving plane crashes/accidents in my 36 years as a human being.

2 – Thus, it’s kind of important as a passenger to not be distracted during take-off and landing in case anything goes wrong and you do have to pull out your life vest and oxygen while at the same time listening to the flight attendants’ instructions, which could indeed save your life.

3- Portable electronic devices are a pretty big distraction, period. Well, most of them are (I’d probably argue that a Kindle or a camera is less of a distraction than Angry Birds on your iPhone).

4- We’re likely being asked to turn off our devices so that we’re not hugely distracted in the event of there being a problem during take-off or landing.

As a teacher, I have always suspected this was the case. I have always doubted that the reason had to do with any kind of wireless frequencies. But I still do think we should keep these devices off during take-off and landing — I for one want to be 100% aware in the event of some kind of aircraft problem that needs my attention… dunno ’bout you.

Oct 312011

Teach the tools that will teach kids to focus, avoid distraction, and judge what to pay attention to as they’re exposed to a slew of diversions.

At first I was just going to tweet about this, not post about it. But I have a bit more to say about it than can fit in to

What I have to say is based on my own experience.

I have been practicing meditation for the last 4, maybe 5 years. Inconsistently, but still regularly, if that makes sense. I meditate on average about twice a week. Sometimes, I practice daily. Then I go for long stretches where I don’t practice at all. And I come back to it wondering what the hell I was thinking by leaving it. Then I settle into a “rhythm” every few days. And then my cycle starts over again. It’s irregularly regular. (This is, for the record, also how my yoga practice began 6-7 years ago, and now I practice daily, so I do anticipate that I will eventually evolve into someone who meditates daily too. These things take time. Baby steps.)

Anyway, I did not begin to practice meditation *because* I wanted to learn to focus and multitask better. I began to practice meditation because I wanted to clear my head and be more mindful in my relationships. However, what I can tell you is that since I began meditating, my ability to focus and multitask has improved across the board, in all activities. I can tell you that when I *am* meditating semi-quasi-consistently, I am more focused and less distracted and more productive all around. It’s this incredible fantastic side effect bonus that I was never looking for or expected, and I love it.

In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking, “dang, I really need to meditate more often.”

Anyway, I think what Levy’s saying in this article is incredibly important for any 21st century educator or school. How are we teaching our students to focus? It’s not a matter of just telling them. We have to teach them. Howe do we teach mindfulness? I’m not (necessarily) suggesting we teach our students to meditate — though, hey, why not? But I am suggesting that we all engage in some kind of mindfulness training so that we can model it and teach our students how to focus, balance, and pay attention to what’s important.

Reasonable, no?