Thursday, March 22, 2012

Crunch Time Limits Technology Use

Most of the electronic devices we own today are heavily used for communication and social networking. As such, a big portion of our day-to-day activities go to checking notifications and updates, which then leaves us distracted from the many real tasks we need to accomplish.

Then there’s cramming. I believe there is the crammer in all of us, because we spend so much time tweeting, texting, blogging, and checking Twitter, Facebook statuses. This trend goes down from the professionals to young adults and to students alike.

Our generation is often considered as “heavy multi-taskers” who find it hard to concentrate on one activity at a time. We are always online, always using a bunch of IT devices to communicate, play, and make documents. However, during the last few days or hours before the ‘dead-lines,’ most of us apply the self-styled strategies of limiting down technology.

It’s true and proven in a recent study conducted in University of Washington. They have found out that students have the tendency to veer away from the use of electronics during the final exams week. For them, times of pressure become an encouragement to use less of their gadgets in exchange of being able to study more. For some, though, they use a reward system in the form of allowing themselves to surf every after 15, 30 or 60 minutes of study. Needless to say, there is still control over usage.

But while there are students who cut down on essential technology during crunch time, some are inventive to use what is supposed to be a distraction to something of benefit to them. They basically use social media for coursework and meeting coordination, while some use it for further research to clarify items they don’t understand in either textbooks or classroom instruction.

In addition, a couple of students use their smartphones to record lecture notes and use it as a reference later on. Others also photograph the problem sets from a math book that is too expensive to buy, so they can study the formulas while on the way home. Yet another group uses a website to create flashcards to review thru the smartphone. It really depends on what works for them.

I can really relate to the findings of the research. Often times, I find myself wasting time using all my gadgets and checking all my websites until such time that the deadline is almost near. When it happens, I close my browser and put my mobile phone on silent mode in order to focus on that thing I need to accomplish. You see, the study is also applicable to the working class like us.

Indeed, the means by which all of us are learning and working are fundamentally changing. What always matters is that we recognize technology’s power and learn to control ourselves from having too much dependence on it.

This article is my 56th contribution to Manila Bulletin -- one of the Philippines' leading broadsheets -- published on February 8, 2012 (Wednesday) in the Tech101 Section. You can view the PDF version here (lower center portion).

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most important is to know what is your current priority ;)

This is absolutely correct!

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

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