As I sit down to my desk setup which includes a laptop workstation, dual monitors, wireless keyboard and mouse, as well as a Bluetooth speaker it’s interesting to consider how technology is involved in my daily life.
No alarm clock beside my bed anymore, my phone wakes me up based on apple watch’s “nudge” feature, being sure to slowly bring me out of any sleep cycle I am in (just need to make sure I charge it while in the shower and getting ready). Once awake, it’s all about using my device to catch up on scores I may have missed, the daily family/work schedule, and finally, collect my awards in my NHL Skate 22 app (might be addicted). While commuting into the city, I’m often using hands free tech to send text messages, read emails, and call back home to ensure my little ones have woken up in time to get to school. All of this in a 2-hour window.
In my role as VP, I have to make a conscious effort to get up and walk away from my desk just so that I am not sitting all day. A person could almost complete everything from there now. I leave the desk to try and interact with people as well, but that doesn’t mean I’ve left my work behind. I’m able to get messages both on my phone and watch, assist and communicate with colleagues continuously through a good morning text, read their new emails immediately, help them with Wi-Fi issues, problem solve Edsby, or add students to courses in MSS; all from my iPhone. Automatic appointment reminders keep me on time, organized, and portray me as a dependable employee.
When I get phone calls, caller ID allows me to decide if I’m available or not… hold on, that was my wife and she is texting now instead, best reply quickly. A person really can pick and choose who they want to personally interact with at these days. Aside from the few people I pass and chat with in the hallways or go out of my way to see because I enjoy talking to them, email and text can take care of the rest; especially that tough colleague (email sent).
Interestingly, this is the part of my career where I’m using tech less. Prior to the VP chair I was teaching robotics and automotive. It’s amazing how technology dependent both of those subjects are. While automotive may not have students coding, the tools for solving electrical issues in both fields is almost identical. We all love the plug and play diagnostic devices that are able to narrow our scope and solve the issue, however this is rarely the case and it’s a person’s ability to use search engines and other internet resources that ultimately leads to solving the problem. To think of it, these were also the days I got to really interreact with others at school, and I miss it.
So you’re all thinking, what about social media? Honestly, I don’t do it. My only scrolling happens on Kijiji. Usually done in about 7-10 minutes. Boring, I know. In the evening I may be using AirPlay to stream my favorite show or kids sport I can’t attend in person, but that really is when I try to let go of the tech in hopes of slowing life down; maybe for a second. Now if only I could ignore the kid’s sports apps that continue to ping with reminders and oh, there is always the online course I’m enrolled in, and…
Honestly technologies influence in my life is basically 24/7.
8 Replies to “A Reality Check on My Daily Use of Tech”
Great post, Stephen! You sound like a very hands on VP who is utilizing the technology available to help your school run smoothly. I find it interesting that you once taught robotics! I would be a fish out of water if I was placed in that position, so good on you! I assume with that experience, you are the guy who the teachers call with any tech issue that needs to be resolved. Great work!
Reid, it was the deep end of the pool and I honestly just jumped in. It significantly impacted my teaching style though. When I stepped into robotics, I gave up the expert hat very quickly. I was just like the rest of the kids, a curious learner. They taught me just as much, if not more, than I taught them. I have to brag about our success together. Here’s a quick read if you’re interested, https://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/thom-collegiate-robotics-team-represents-sask-in-world-competition
Stephen, stopping to think about all the technology in a day is mind blowing, as you mentioned a mouse, keyboard, dual monitors etc. these are platforms we use without a second thought. Technology surrounds us in every way daily. I applaud you for not giving way to social media, as I waste a good chunk of my day scrolling, viewing, snapping and tweeting. I started to track my screen time and was appalled by the number of hours logged daily – not to mention weekly.
This is not begrudging social media nor technology, as a whole I enjoy both, and they definitely have their place in education. Robotics would be a very intriguing class to teach and I bet the students also were engaged with the class. Technology allows people to expand their breadth of knowledge and be in charge of their own learning as well.
We definitely are all engaged in technology more than we often think we are. It is hard to step away from all the pings and notifications. I am impressed that you are not on social media. I often tell myself to get off or delete the apps and take a break. I spend too much time scrolling which is taking away from so real human interactions I could be doing.
Stephen your comment on getting out of the office as a VP reminds me of a sign my first principal had on the inside of his door. It said “Brian, get out of your office – everything important is out there, not here.” This was 15 years ago mind you, but the idea of getting caught up in the emails, messages, texts rings truer today than it did back then.
I also find your observation about screening communication interesting. I remember my parents picking up the phone at home every time that it rang. Now when someone calls me my initial thought is, “this is a crisis or someone trying to scam me.”
Thanks for your post! It’s so true what you said about having to make the conscious effort to leave your desk. Since leaving the classroom (and more so since Covid), I’ve found that I could do my entire consultant job from my desk. I can send emails, make phone calls, plan projects, make Teams calls and teach students virtually. However, what I really discovered with Covid is that technology doesn’t replace the valuable face-to-face time and the unplugged time. I’ve been making an effort to schedule as many in-school meetings as possible and in-person teaching when supporting teachers. Although I see the value of technology in our personal and professional lives, I’ve definitely learned to appreciate the value of balance too!
A good reflection on your daily interactions. Do you ever wonder if we hadn’t changed our use of technology over the years if we wouldn’t have to slow down in the evening? Our use of technology is evolving but is the mammal brain truly able to keep up with the pace.
I saw a really interesting post where some admin teams have stand up desk with wheels (kind of like the ones that nurses were using at the COVID vaccine clinics), where they make a conscious effort to do their work in different hallways of their buildings, to show more of a face around the building. I know that Durston said that his admin team also does something like this. It’s a neat concept to engage with students but to also be productive on the computer. What a great way to incorporate some standing time as well!