One of the challenges of technology – in both the classroom and life in general – is how it can take up time just as much as it saves time. I know many teachers would agree with this. And it’s stressful. It’s so hard to keep up with the latest apps, media updates, new hardware, new social networks…I mean, look at our email inbox. It is often flooded with 50% Groupon-type deals and it truly can become an hour+ ordeal to wade through it every morning. But we don’t unsubscribe in the slight chance we find the precise deal to the Caribbean that is our dream bargain…alas.
So how do we manage technology in a way so it doesn’t consume so much time that we feel more stressed and time-strapped? The way I look at it is similar to health. All in moderation, and prioritizing what exactly is important to you, which may not be important to your co-teacher, friend, or significant other. But that’s OK because at the end of the day you will be more efficient, productive, and happier. Below are three tips I follow to find that balance with technology:
1) You’re probably missing out… but so is everyone else.
This goes back to that misconception that we’re all walking down the street thinking everyone is looking at us, but in reality, we’re too absorbed in thinking that everyone is looking at us that we don’t pay attention to anyone else. You probably feel like you don’t have the latest and greatest set of apps or gadgets or know how to sync your cloud storage from your computer to your phone, etc… and everyone else does. False. It’s so difficult to keep up with the daily Tech Crunch and Mashable articles that if you have a regular job and life you’re probably going to miss out on something. But who cares? Once you feel comfortable in walking down the street with the flip phone of your choice, then you’ll be happy and – gasp – no one else will notice, or care.
2) You’re an anomaly if you know how to use a real level (not the app).
Anyone can skim through the iCreate site and get a pretty good understanding that myself and team find value in the physical hands-on world, now becoming fairly popular through the maker movement. Perhaps this goes with how I grew up… Exhibit A: Picture below of me at 13 standing with my dad atop my grandparents’ Montanan log cabin that my family built.
So, while building a log cabin is a little extreme, I think it’s still really important to understand how to use a real level as opposed to the app. Change it up once in a while…write out a to-do list. Read a real book. Craft your next scrap book instead of using the Kodak Kiosk. And, sometimes you will find that pushing the device out of the way and getting back to basics isn’t all that more time consuming. And I find it more relaxing.
3) Splurge (or not) on things that you want to — and don’t apologize.
Anyone who knows me understands that anything remotely related to pop culture or modern sports, I have no clue. I honestly cannot hold a conversation around any topic related to a TV show, movie, musician, sports team — anything that most 30-year-olds would. But somehow I still survive. That’s because none of those topics matter to me…and my energy and time is allocated among topics such as edtech, traveling, family. Some people may be the opposite, where the sports season and certain shows are their go-to and that’s OK! It’s all about being realistic about how much available screen time you have, and then prioritizing that time accordingly. My screen time is spent with iCreate, and beyond that, I stay away. And I just have to daydream when a group conversation turns to the latest episode of “The Office” — no apologies!