The Goldfish Theory


For my sixth birthday I was given two pet goldfish, named very imaginatively ‘Goldy’ and ‘Swirly’. Little did six-year old me know that Goldy and Swirly were to have a longer attention span than twenty-six-year old me.

At aged eleven I was given my first mobile phone, a Nokia 3210, it had a black and white screen, memory space for about eleven texts and of course, the classic game of ‘Snake’. Therefore, texting my friends and playing snake were two fond passed times of mine. However, texting as an eleven year-old in 2000 was much more of a challenge than children face now. You had to be very smart with your words or abbreviations so that you were under the character count of one message. It was important to savour your £10 top-up and get as many 12p texts out of it as you could!

Perhaps the limitations that children face today, like the character count of a text message, is getting their message across to their peers with an attention span of supposedly eight-seconds, according to an article by McSpadden ‘You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span than a Goldfish’ stating figures from a Microsoft Corp. research study. McSpadden reports that a goldfish has a nine-second attention span, a whole one second longer than our own.

Vine, a social network that allows you to stop-motion film and post six-second videos on a loop, could surely be the answer to our short attention span epidemic. Using Vine to share our message with others could even allow two-seconds of reflection time after the clip! This solves the problem that children face with grabbing the attention of their peers, giving them a message just short enough for them to pay attention.

After reading Steve Wheeler’s ‘Learning with ‘e’s’ I believe this could be ‘a golden opportunity’. Thinking back to my school days, learning Latin as an eleven year-old could have been much more exciting and inspiring if I was taught the adventures of Quintus through the power of text speech. I might have even continued studying Latin and be in a very different career today. Therefore, Vine could be used in the classroom to communicate fluently to eleven year-old’s in 2016. Speaking to the goldfish generation in a language they understand and can be inspired by.


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