Last night I was proctoring final exams for my Computer Organization class. The students were quietly busy, and I was able to work on a variety of things on the computer. Later, I took screenshots of my browsing history (thinking of the associative trails concept experience). Here are the results:
Now, as I review what I did, I see that I was primarily working on one thing, but took various side trails. Sometimes, those side trails were the result of external influence. I had received an email from the Internet Society concerning a new member area and I needed to update my profile. Took care of that, but also looked at some of the current discussions on the forum. Some of my trails were spurred from the mainline, in which I was following Alan Levine’s tweeted suggestion to leave comments on a random student’s blog. There were problems with that, so I tried a few alternatives. I think I left three comments, but I also think they disappeared (maybe waiting moderation, maybe I wasn’t logged in to my own appropriate account, maybe I did something wrong).
And, during all of this time, I was watching for email notifications that my own students were submitting their tests.
One thing I notice in this experience is that my mind keeps working on the thoughts that have highest priority. This Thoughtvectors course is of high priority because it is a new, high intensity experience of great interest to me, requiring many mind-based products. Even so, my mind still functions on other topics, daily tasks, attention to the needs of the moment, and just plain randomness.