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The Slow Cognition Movement

Despite the title, this movement does not yet exist (to my knowledge). I was smitten when I came across the term while recently exploring the putative Paced Education model on the Stanford2025 website, which is a wonderfully thought-provoking site for those who wonder “what if…” and “how might we…” in education.

The notion of ‘paced education’ speaks to me as an educator. Consider the excerpt below, from the aforementioned website:


Paced education was designed to promote academic exploration and then push rigour within disciplines. Students now moved through phases of learning based on their individual readiness, allowing them to transform at their own pace. 

The three distinct phases were called: Calibration, Elevation, and Activation. While undergraduates, students cycled through these phases multiple times.  

Advanced learning technologies gave students and faculty new types of bio-cognitive feedback to ground this process.

To balance these unparalleled technological resources, the University made an equal commitment to meditative modes like personal reflection through the now ubiquitous zones of digital silence, not-spots. Stanford humanists then helped pioneer the Slow Cognition movement.

What if…? What if schools moved more toward paced education, as a model for how we ‘do school’? The design strives for a certain harmony…a balance of tech and non-tech that is deeply intentional. Imagine “Not-Spots” as ‘destination areas’ within your school. Perhaps they’re even personal, at times, as in: can I use your not-spot? What if…we were intentional about slow cognition, in terms of creating a movement? Arguably the footprint is already there in the form of #deeperlearning (visit) , but what would the next steps be, in terms of making it mainstream? In terms of pursuing it as a full-blown movement because it underscores (and promotes) our ability to be human in this hyper age?

What would the consequences be, for this type of movement?

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