I recently read an article in the Boston Globe, iPhone Obsession Is Ruining Our Ability to Deal. A study at the University of Missouri looked at iPhone dependency and it turns out our dependency can lead to physiological effects, task inefficiency and anxiety when we are removed from our devices. We can experience iPhone-solation. Yikes!
I love technology; hence, my work as an instructional technology specialist. I strive to help educators use technology to enhance both their productivity and the teaching and learning. Yet, this, albeit one, study is great food for thought.
There are two things about this article that struck me. First, people actually experienced increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as anxiety and task inefficiency if their phone rang and they could not answer it. So what does this mean for us in classrooms? We can be guaranteed that students have devices in pockets on vibrate. How do we help them learn that sometimes they need to be disconnected and that is okay?
Second, just because we can use technology; doesn’t always mean we should. We owe it to ourselves and our students to model and encourage thoughtful and meaningful uses of technology that do not promote an overreliance on technology. There is a time and a place for technology and there are some skills, content, and experiences that are better shared without technology.
My take away – it seems an overreliance on technology can be a distraction! I don’t think this means we shouldn’t use it, there are lots of great ways that technology facilitates communication, collaboration, creation, sharing – all 21st century skills. The one word that resonates in my mind after reading this article is balance. We need to harness the power of technology to communicate, collaborate, create and share, but we also need to be able to walk away, enjoy some technology free time, and not feel as though we are missing out on something.
Balance. Tomorrow, I might try leaving my iPhone at home!