Head in the Cloud(s)

This month is Connected Educator month (among other things, most yummy… Panini month).  While reflecting on this observance, I found it interesting that as a Connected Educator, I sometimes feel like I have my head in the clouds, which is almost exactly where it should be.

This past year, I registered for so many online accounts (YouTube, Twitter, Flicker, Google+, WordPress, etc.) that I often have trouble keeping them straight, let alone the passwords, as we recently witnessed.  I also have trouble keeping these services straight from those used exclusively for my school (iTunes U, Schoology, EasyBib, Turnitin.com, and our SIS system).  I really want to use all these sites and services to their fullest, but sometimes it’s too much.

This summer I received a bit of anxiety from being TOO connected.  I’m currently finishing my doctoral thesis, which undoubtedly adds stress, but as more of my work requires time in front of a screen, I’ve become more agitated.  I know I’ve read studies about connectedness to devices adding stress, and I’ve reached my tipping point.  As part of Connected Educator Month, I vow to stay connected to resources online but also stay connected to reality.  This means reading real books and magazines, spending time with my family, and devoting Sunday as “No-Devices Day.”

My experiences with electronic anxiety (a term I’ll take credit for coining, but it probably exists already) have led me to two concerning ideas.

  1. What will happen to teachers who struggle with technology once the push for greater connectedness arises?  Will teachers, too, reach a tipping-point?  This needs to be addressed in technology implementation plans and likely it hasn’t been addressed yet.
  2. What will happen to young kids (mine are 5, 3, and 1) when all their time is spent on a device?  They will (hopefully) have access to all their educational content electronically, but this access will likely be on the same screen- or otherwise- that they watch movies and play games.  How will educators address the potential rise in electronic anxiety among students?

I vow to stay connected as an educator.  I know the stress, which ebbs now, will eventually fade.  However, I have found I adapt pretty easily to new situations, and I know others will have more trouble than I will.  Not being connected is not a reality for our future, educational or otherwise.  I also feel addressing electronic anxiety forthrightly is another necessity of the future.  I hope we continue to see progression in both as education becomes more connected.

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