Computer technology has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. We’ve become especially dependent on it through the challenges we have faced throughout the pandemic for so many things. Effective use of technology can make learning more fun and engaging, whether on campus or learning remotely. Technology is everywhere in our world, and I love that my job is to model the creative and innovative ways that teachers can use technology to guide students as they continue on through their lives. Additionally, the lessons that tech provides to us are lessons that we can equate to our everyday lives.
When something goes wrong, my first thought is to turn to my smartphone. You can learn a lot from a smartphone, or any technology, really! Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned:
- Reboot and Reset
One of the first lessons in technology is that if it isn’t working, restart the device. At least three times a day people will come to me with a tech issue. My first question is always the same “did you restart your device?” 90% of the time, a reboot is the solution to the issue. If only it were that easy with life. Instead of pressing the restart button in life, when I feel like things “aren’t working,” I try to take a deep breath, mindfully count to ten, and if all else fails, I take a nap.2. Verify Sources
While there are an infinite number of sources to get information online, not all sites are credible or authentic. We stress to students the importance of digital citizenship and conducting online research in a safe and responsible manner. Ensuring the accuracy of a source can be really confusing, even to a seasoned techie like me. To make sure something is reliable, we teach students to find at least three valid sources that say the same thing before taking information as true. As educators, we play a vital role in helping our students investigate, evaluate, and tap into their critical thinking skills when it comes to conducting valid research. In the non-tech world, that’s like asking three trustworthy people the same question. If I get the same answer from all three, then maybe I should pay attention to what they are saying.
3. Know When it’s Time to Unplug
Finally, I spend a lot of time on my computer, as we all do, in the current climate. I think we know that spending too much time on the computer, phone, or electronics is not good for anyone, whether we like it or not. There has to be a point in the day when it is time to unplug (ideally there are no screens an hour before sleep.) During the school day, I’m at the desk in my home office. (Tip: get an oversized desk chair if your 4-legged co-worker insists on sitting next to you.) Before and after school, and on the weekends, I prefer the comfort of my couch. Oftentimes, my dog, i.e., my co-worker, will start pawing my screen to close my laptop. I take that as a signal to shut down, at least for a little while, give my eyes a break, and pay attention to those around me. It isn’t always easy, but we all have to make a conscious decision to unplug and establish a tech-free zone for ourselves and our families. It helps us to maintain emotional and social health.
Technology has so much to teach us, so much that doesn’t have to do with any device, actually. It’s up to us to take these lessons to heart.