Tech isn't all that makes us tick
I know this is an obvious statement, but there are times in our lives when it is particularly evident that tech isn't (or at least, shouldn't be) all that makes us tick!
At the end of last year there was a blast of news stories about Generation Y and their phones. The premise was that smart phones have become so ingrained in their daily routines, that they become anxious without them - as if part of them is missing. As a Gen Y myself, I'd have to agree. If I forget my phone, I'm not just forgetting my 'phone'. I use my smart phone constantly throughout the day to check email, use the internet, take photos/videos/notes, check spelling/facts, and as a GPS, calculator, calendar, clock/timer, shopping list - just to mention the most evident ones that come to mind! A smart phone makes life easier, but would I be completely lost without it? Not yet - I still have other options that are just not quite as convenient. Also, to be completely honest, there are a lot of times when I use my phone when I actually don't need to.
The past week has been a pretty messy one in my life - nothing devastating - but just enough to leave me feeling pretty run down. As I've tried to manage the juggle of teacher, mentor, mother, wife, blogger, TpT seller and basic human being, I've been trying to find extra minutes for my day, and realised that there are some precious moments of time that have been wasted by obsessive phone checking. So my tech tip this week is about trying to get a better balance.
Cutting back on the unnecessary
I'm sure we all have our distractions which we find ourselves checking an unreasonable amount of times during the day - be that Tweets, Facebook, email, txt messages, TpT product sales/downloads, website visits, apps for sale, friends, followers, ratings or any number of other distractions. A simple way to get some more time back into your day is to cut back on the number of checks you do. You might actually get a nice surprise to realise that the obsessive checking is unnecessary and can be counter productive. The continual urge to check might even go away!
- Try to avoid carrying your phone on your person at all times. Have a location that is accessible, but not too accessible.
- Wear a watch rather than relying on a phone for your time piece.
Changing things up
Sometimes I become so preoccupied with my gadgets, or plans for things I'll do next time I sit down at the computer, that I don't make the most of the other events in the day. Don't forget to enjoy the other goodies life has to offer. Toddlers are great at dragging you away from your technology! They want to experience the world and make sense of all that takes place around them. They build, do puzzles, get messy with paint, climb rocks, take nature walks, search for treasures (geocaching), ride trains, swim and splash, and get all gooey while they cook! Take a lesson from their book and get away from the tech a little.
- Get outside
- Explore other hobbies/interests/games
- Be in the moment
- Visit friends and family in person!
And when the Tech isn't there!
Every now and then we forget how much we rely on our IT and then something goes wrong - and boy do we know it! We wonder how we used to survive when we didn't have the internet at our fingertips 24/7. Or how we used to teach before electronic whiteboards, photocopiers, printers, teacher computers, laptops... BUT WE DID! And we can when things are undergoing maintenance or roll over. It doesn't even mean that we go back to teaching pencil and paper in books - but rather that we teach through living and experiences. It's important to maintain balance in our teaching so that a) we don't lose our ability to teach effectively without IT and b) our students don't lose the ability to learn effectively without IT.
- Enjoy the mini-holidays from IT when they arise - rather than grumbling at how your lesson has been ruined.
- Teach resilience when the technology doesn't work and help students to find other ways to learn effectively
- Don't get tricked into using IT just for the sake of it. Could your students learn more through a hands-on activity rather than reading about it or watching someone else do it online?