“Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.” – George Siemens
Neuroplasticity – The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. As humans interact with technology at increased rates, the brain is changing for better and for worse.
Infographic Source: National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine
According to an article from Mashable, the brain has been changed in the following ways due to technology use:
- We dream in color.
- We experience the “fear of missing out.”
- We experience phantom vibration syndrome.
- We aren’t sleeping as well.
- We lack memory and attention span.
- We have better visual skills.
- We lack impulse control.
- We are more creative.
Good news: There’s a sweet spot.
In a survey of 120,000 British teenagers conducted by Andrew Przybylski of Oxford and Netta Weinstein of Cardiff University, research found a slightly negative correlation between heavy social media use and negative mental health. The research also suggested digital connectivity can enhance creativity, communication skills and development.
Przybylski and Weinstein suggested that guardians set time limits to ensure that they teenagers are reaping the positive benefits of technology use.
Weekday time limits:
- 1 hour, 40 minutes for video-game play
- 1 hour, 57 minutes for smartphone use
- 3 hours, 41 minutes for video watching
- 4 hours, 17 minutes for recreational computer use
Weekend time limits:
- 3 hours, 35 minutes for playing video games
- 4 hours, 50 minutes for watching videos
Our research suggests that some connectivity is probably better than none and there are moderate levels that as in the story of Goldilocks are “just right”for young people
Dr Andrew Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute
(Source: University of Oxford
How does this impact the workplace?
By nature, human beings seek connection. We are constantly changing and adapting based on our environment and the people with whom we associate. Therefore, building a personal learning network (PLN) is especially beneficial for educators.
As teachers interact with their PLN through social media, the neuroplasticity of their brains allow them to gain new tools, strategies, and ideas to help them better engage and support students.
Simply put: Empowered teachers empower colleagues and students.
What’s not to love about that?!
Do you have a PLN? If so, how has it benefited your work?
Please share in the comments!