I was intrigued to read today that schools around the US and now Australia have discovered that young people learn more, concentrate better, bully less and achieve enhanced academic outcomes when they are prevented from accessing their smart phones during school hours.
Who would have thought it! Unless you were educated in the years preceding such technology, prior to social media, indeed prior to the advent of the Internet as we know it today. OK, I sound patronising. However, just when some educators were wondering what is not working, they have turned to the past. A past when technology need not dominate the classroom for effective learning to be achieved. And so it can still be today.
Technology is a tool that can assist or complement learning. Surely, sometimes the learning is about that actual technology. Nevertheless, without the true basics of education, of developing fundamentals, fostering curiosity, open-mindedness, a passion to learn, creative thinking, independent problem solving, etc, the technology is only a facade.
Indeed, as we have learned to our detriment in recent years, technology can be a scourge to positive social interactions, to respect, team-work, confidence building, learning courage, managing anxiety, etc, and has been associated with some young people ending their lives, or feeling very depressed and anxious.
Most recently I did learn that unlike the school-yard bullying of the past when the nerds, the socially awkward, the less confident or those with lower self-esteem were targeted, online bullying via social media nowadays is more likely to target the successful students, even the popular students. The anonymity of social media allows it. Young people’s desire to stay ‘connected’ facilitates it. Connecting of course in a digital sense, but not necessarily in a truly humanistic sense.
So just as we perceive progress with technology and its application, we abandon it, thankfully, in prudent ways, at least temporarily, to improve the learning prospects for young people, cognitively, emotionally and socially. Good work.
Next we need to encourage these same young people, and their parents and older family members, to truly detox from technology on a regular basis. Get out in nature. Surf. Paddle a canoe. Swim, hike, walk the dog, tour the outback. And leave the technology behind. Or at the very least, every day, detox. Prove to yourself you are not addicted. And that you can maintain attention on nature, on anything other than technology, for long enough, to wind down, to appreciate the joy, of just being. Like contemplating a special view. Some examples provided below.
Make your detox time special, and your body and mind will thank you for it. You might even be surprised by the new positive relationships you can form with such like-minded people. Excitement can be yours, without any technology. Imagine that! Then it can become reality. Yours! Enjoy!