Friday, February 28, 2014

Tech Tip: Thoughts on a balanced life amid technology

We are all wired.

No longer does this mean highly caffeinated, although - for most educators (especially those of us on 8 Gold) - this old definition still does hold true: now, it refers to the fact that, at any given moment, we are leading a dual existence.  We are doing what we do, walking and teaching and eating and whatnot while also keeping one foot in the digital realm.

How many times a day do you reach for your phone or device?  How often do you look at a screen while eating your lunch?  For many of us, it's pretty frequent - and even more so for our students.  They seldom do one task at a time, and even less so now that so many of our lessons and activities are based in a digital realm.  I know that, while my students are working on papers on Google Drive, they are also chatting in a side window, posting on Instagram, listening to digital audio, and responding to the buzz of an incoming text.

So, what's wrong with this?

Ray Bradbury seemed to know what he was talking about in Fahrenheit 451.  By doing several tasks at once, we don't do any one of them fully - we cannot multitask.  What we do is divide our attention and compensate for the gaps thus created.

As educators, part of our job now - whatever subject we teach - is to help students navigate this digital realm, and find balance in their lives... to remember that living - real living - involves time in the moment, to really experience One Thing, whatever that one thing may be at any given time.

Anna Akbari has posted an excellent piece on CNN about just this sort of thing - ways to find a balance.  I found it very worthwhile reading, and think there are some tips in this for both ourselves and our students.  Give it a look.