Taking back control of technology

Final thoughts: Taking back control of technology

Whilst I embrace technology and appreciate its importance as a vital learning tool; I also think there are aspects of the traditional learning experience that is irreplaceable. One main one is day to day interaction with printed text – usually books, which I can touch, feel and smell. I’m one of those people who do not throw away books or resell them as I’ll rather keep books on the shelf than get rid of them. I spend an awful lot of time at the British Library in St Pancras and I must confess that although I go there a few times a week, the novelty somehow does not wear off. Whenever I’m in that cathedra of learning, I feel the sense of wealth – a place with immense wealth of knowledge, culture and history. The British Library as the second largest collection of printed books in the world and at the same time it also possesses state of the art learning resources in digital form. An environment in which the two aspects – traditional and modern learning tools complement each other nicely.

 Top Tips for making the best use of Technology

In concluding this discussion, which is aimed at provoking thoughts about the pros and cons of technology, I’d like to offer a few suggestions on how people can make the best use of technology and prevent it from controlling their lives.

  1. Think on paper – keep a physical notebook and use it more often.
  2. Experiment with not having your phone on all day. You can start by turning it off, or putting it on aircraft mode for a couple of hours a day. I’m not speaking about whist at work but it could be just to think, to relax and have a breathing space – or perhaps to indulge in some reading of printed book!
  3. Switch off your phone or put it in non-message-receiving mode before you go to bed. Allow yourself to have a brief review of your day in the evening and to decide on the two or three critical things you want to do the next day. Write down one or two bullet points.
  4. Switching on the phone, tablet or computer should not be the first thing you switch on when you wake up in the morning. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and look at the little note you made the previous evening. Do this before switching on your devices as you want to identify your own priorities for the day before you let others into your thoughts.
  5. Record your favourite programme or the news and watch it later. That way, you can fast forward the bits you do not like.
  6. Have a facility time when devices are switched off for a few minutes and converse with your family in the absence of electronic technology.
  7. Do not always think about efficiency but appreciate that effectiveness is more important.  I’ll rather walk or cycle for 20 minutes than take the bus or train or drive if I can help it. Walking time is thinking time and you begin to enjoy it after some time.
  8. Try and discover the joy or reading – I mean printed book, with little chance of being distracted. It can be very liberating – an escapism that you may begin to enjoy and indulge in more often!
  9. Whatever you do, stay curious and remain inquisitive!

I hope you have found this informative, stay tuned for our next series of blogs on issues relating to the education of young people.