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How to Focus

I’m torn.

Is social media, Web 2.0, and technology good for us? Or can it be so distracting that we (and our students) are unable to focus long enough to think and deliberate on important issues?

Can we use mobile devices and Edmodo and Twitter and all sorts of other tech tools to encourage learning, collaboration and creativity? If we really can’t multitask but switch quickly between tasks instead, is back-channeling and Tweeting and texting and other forms of social media just encouraging less comprehension and more confusion?

Let me be clear . . . I strongly support the use of social networks and technology as learning tools. But I’m beginning to believe that we’re not really sure how to use these tools appropriately as part of instruction. We’re not asking enough questions about the best ways to integrate tech into what we do every day.

Can students and instructors really use technology/media/social networks in ways that engage and keep students focused on the truly important?

I think so. But we should think about, and we need to train our kids to think about, finding a proper balance between indiscriminate use of “shiny” new doodads and quality use of technology tools.

A recent article over at Edudemic seems useful. They’ve put together a handy infographic that provides suggestions and ideas of how to stay focused “in an age of distraction.” The infographic breaks up your day into six categories:

  • Managing your space
  • How to work
  • Create rituals and habits
  • Managing email
  • Take time to reflect and review
  • Help for addicts
  • Take a digital technology detox

It seems like the balance I’m looking for – acknowledging the fact that technology is necessary but understanding that we have to be careful how we use it.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. David #

    You might also like this, from The Atlantic: “Plug in Better”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/plug-in-better-a-manifesto/252873/

    February 23, 2012
    • glennw #

      David,

      I like the article. Thanks for sharing. FOMO – something we all fight!

      glennw

      February 23, 2012

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