Keep your use of tech healthy with these top tips, from Mark Anderson.

It’s the start of the new academic year and, whilst nothing could have prepared us for the onslaught of new technology adoption throughout the pandemic and over the course of the last two academic years, the start of a new year gives us an opportunity to make some resolutions that can help to keep your use of technology safe, purposeful and impactful.

Are you sitting comfortably?

One of the most important aspects of working when using technology is making sure you have a good seating position. Keep both feet flat on the floor, spaced apart, and try to keep your knees at a 90-degree angle (I struggle with this!). This is more easily achieved when you have a chair which has an adjustable height. Work from a desk or table – don’t just work with your laptop on your lap as this will, over time, put undue pressure on your lower back. These tips will enable you to maintain good posture whilst ensuring good blood flow to your legs. It would also be remiss of me to not do the same job as my smartwatch does and to try and make it so that at least once an hour you stand up and stretch your legs for a minute or so before sitting back down and continuing.

Eye, eye!

Eye strain is a common issue often found to cause headaches, so make sure you take time out to follow the simple 20/20/20 rule. This means every 20 minutes looking up, away from your device screen at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This gives eyes a break and helps them to return to their natural position.

Don’t use too much EdTech

That’s right – don’t use 100 different apps or tools when just a handful is enough. When it comes to effective EdTech use, what is better is to master the tools you use frequently and know what approaches and tools within them best serve your teaching and lesson administration, alongside the tools your learners use to demonstrate and support their learning. This advice doesn’t aim to stifle curiosity and creativity but instead aims to make you and your learners more effective at using tools that don’t require a whole lesson to be spent each time a new aspect is introduced. Creativity comes from knowing your tools well and understanding how to get the most out of them to support your teaching or their learning activity.

Little and often

For sure, new apps and tools can be exciting and I’d wholeheartedly recommend keeping your nose to the ground for the latest and greatest EdTech developments. One of the best ways to improve and increase your EdTech diet in this new academic year will be to embed a few simple things that you know will improve your effectiveness, efficiency or other target you might be wishing to achieve. It could be that you want to master and learn ten helpful keyboard shortcuts to improve your productivity or to master using the dictation tool in Word. It might be that you want to develop your touch typing or improve your explanations and modelling by using Morph in PowerPoint or other animation techniques. The key to success is to not try too much at the same time or too quickly – and to persevere with it too! 

Think Goldilocks: you want to try and improve your skills by not trying too much or too little but by getting that mixture “just right”!

Pull on your PLN

That’s right, your PLN. Never heard of that? Don’t worry – your PLN is your professional learning network on social media such as Twitter. So if you’re looking for some great people to follow, then check out our resources, including our periodic tables of people to follow or the guides we’ve shared. You could also try giving us a follow too (as individuals or as a company) where we regularly share hints, tips and tricks and lots of other content all around impactful teaching, learning, leadership and of course, technology!

Author

  • Mark Anderson

    Mark is a global speaker, EdTech expert, trainer, blogger, author and key note speaker, known as the ICT Evangelist. He has over 20 years of experience in the classroom. Mark is the head of education at NetSupport, an Independent Thinking associate, an MIE Expert and fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching. His latest book can be found at edtechplaybook.com.
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