I was listening to a radio talk show from Scotland recently where teachers and parents were invited to call in with their views on distance learning. I was curious to compare my experience with those of teachers in my native land. Among the difficulties some communities have faced has been the slow or non-existent internet access. While living in Sweden, it is easy to forget how privileged I am in terms of accessing reliable, high-speed broadband internet. Indeed, Sweden compares favourably with other countries when it comes to digitalisation – only Finland ranks higher in terms of digital competitiveness in Europe. Consequently, having access to a digital device, reliable internet connection and adequate IT-skills do not pose significant problems for most teachers or students in Sweden. The concerns lie elsewhere. Continue reading
Teachnology or distraction devices?
This week I reviewed a presentation with my mentor students on the dangers of social media. This presentation builds upon the ideas espoused by Dr Cal Newport of Georgetown University. In his blog, Study Hacks, Dr Newport writes about “how to perform productive, valuable and meaningful work in an increasingly distracted digital age”. His book, Deep Work, refers to studying for focussed chunks of time without distractions such as email and social media.
In brief, Dr Newport concludes that social media reduces our capacity for attention, leads to loneliness and isolation, and causes a state of continuous latent anxiety. Continue reading