Mailbag: Student attention spans

Re: “Student attention spans are variable”:

This has been a subject which has given me food for thought increasingly as I have grown older. I still attend a few medical talks where I work, but the problem is not just attention. It is wakefulness too. It seems unrelated to the subject matter. Excluding external factors such as how much sleep the night before, and activity levels previously during the day, I have come to the conclusion that some bright spark could devise an algorithm based on a number of factors. 1. Room temperature, especially a gradual rise due to x students cooped up for x minutes 2. Lighting levels; presentations involving slide shows often require low lighting 3. Oxygen levels falling in a room full of listeners, all breathing out carbon dioxide, and doors shut 4. The dreaded post-lunch 2pm spot. 5. Interaction levels I am sure a p50 levels, based on when half the audience's heads are nodding could be calculated. P.S. of course this does not appply to your lectures

I totally agree!