Addiction to SM

Worry not, the title of this post does not refer to ’50 Shades of Grey’. Those people that know me know just how much I love Twitter. I use it for pleasure, following up on my interests in music, photography, travel and football. If I am watching a live match, I will also be following various twitter feeds in order to maximise viewpoints. I use it for finding tickets for gigs and links to new sounds. As well as Instagram, I use Twitter to find out about photographers, galleries and exhibitions. On my recent travels, Twitter even materialised into a form of personalised Trip Advisor. Twitter also acts as a mini blog, as well as a way of providing a diary of who/where/when/what/why and sometimes how…

In the main though, I use Twitter for work, making connections and learning from people of different backgrounds from all around the world. #UKEdChat is now complemented by #dojochatEU#aussieED, #INZpirED and more. In my opinion, Twitter is the best form of informal CPD ever created.

However, at the London Festival of Education, my enthusiasm for ‘all things tech’ was questioned during the debate entitled ‘Digital Learning: Dream or Disaster?’ The panel, chaired by Martin Robinson, and featuring Oliver Quinlan, Kevin Stannard, Angela Macfarlane and Rosie Flewitt had the brief:

They are everywhere: mobiles, tablets (laptops are just old hat now).  As technology really becomes ubiquitous teachers, pupils and parents are struggling to make it work. Hear from tech experts and leading edge educationists on how to make the most of digital learning at every stage of education and when to power down.

During the debate, Mark Martin aka @urban_teacher made the point that technology was there to help us initially, but we are now shackled by it. Constant access to the internet, emails, Twitter and other forms of social media mean that many of us rarely shut off from our work.

This opinion was reiterated during the following days. John Bishop, Director of Evolve, told me that he has programmed his mobile to turn off the email alerts at 1900 in an effort to reclaim some work/life balance. He also advocated the use of Boomerang for Gmail, something I intend to investigate further.

Later, a friend who is a teacher told me that a colleague of hers had expressed concern that she was posting educational links on her FaceBook page at silly o’clock. Following further conversations, we decided on taking the rather drastic measure of locking our mobile devices in our car boots for a day. The feelings were initially strange, a sense of withdrawal certainly followed, yet we both found that conversations and the quality of dialogue improved as the day went by; the ‘art of noticing returned’. However, there was an amusing moment at bedtime when I realised that I had no way by which to set an alarm to wake me up. The solution: the curtains were left open and I was naturally woken at sunrise…and did not immediately reach out for my i-phone to check emails and social media.

Subsequently, Carol Barwick, Director of Raise, shared an interesting link to an article by Sam Hailes with me: which she intends to investigate further on her own blog site. I look forward to finding out more…

There are many similar thought-provoking articles online regarding the issue of digital addiction, as well as films, a few of which can be seen here:

I also recommend reading the article, ‘Be 8 Car Happy’ by Mike Matthews, which begins:

However great your life is it’s easy to think everyone else is having a happier, more fun, more exciting time than we are. We live in a comparison society where our happiness is measured relative to the perceived happiness of those around us, and we are encouraged to look outwards to others to provide the barometer for happiness we are prepared to accept in our own lives. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter provide us all with a highlight reel of our lives. We craft our very own “best bits” as if we were on Big Brother or some other reality TV show as we invite the world in to see how happy we all are. Things aren’t always how they seem however, and on some level we do know this but it doesn’t stop us from expecting more and more.

Another article by Alex Kazemi that has intrigued me can be found here.

Looking forward to hearing from others about your experiences and opinions. But remember to leave time to connect to the real people around you too…



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