12 Weeks of EdTech – A Summary of Learning

Given that it’s the holiday season I thought I would have some fun and attempt to do a cover of a Christmas song for my summary of learning. I have done three summary of learnings before so I wanted to do something different and haven’t yet attempted a song so I thought why not this semester? I have to apologize as singing is not something that comes natural to me, nor is it something I do well. The background music didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to either. The music is quiet low and sounds a little echoey, but I honestly tried to record three different ways MULTIPLE times and this is the best quality I could come up with. If it’s too painful to watch feel free to skip through to the last 15 seconds where the 12 weeks counts down. Please also keep in mind that what EdTech taught me each week is not done in chronological order for obvious reasons. It was too difficult to make it all go in order and make sense, but regardless of the order I hope you enjoy my little song (singing aside).

In case you missed all the lyrics for each week, here it is:

Twelve weeks with you guys
Eleven ways to connect
Ten awesome blog posts
Nine classroom tools
Eight tools to assess
Seven grand presentations
Six assistive tech tools
Five classes with Alec
Four learning theories
Three types of web
Two different realities
And a collaborative experience online

Obviously I learned a lot more than just the list of items that I gave you in my song. I want to discuss some more of what I learned this semester since the song just doesn’t do it justice. We covered a lot of topics and had some awesome presentations this semester. There was some overlap in the topics which made it seem a little less overwhelming and easy to see how a lot of Ed Tech topics relate to one another. Here is a summary of a few main ideas from this semester.

Learning Theories
Technology allows us to use four different learning theories: behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism and connectivism. Although each theory can be used, most technology lends itself to constructivism and connectivism the most. Using different websites and apps such as web quests or genius hours lend itself nicely to the constructivist approach in which students are building on knowledge and making connections between what they are learning and the real world.

Blogging, and Skype are excellent ways to connect your students to others outside of the classroom and learn through the connectivism approach. Whatever learning theory is being applied we must always think of our students. Behaviourism and cognitivism are more teacher directed, one-way learning and connectivism and constructivism allow the students to build knowledge and direct their own learning. When choosing which technology you want to use, be sure to think about the learning theory involved and how that will impact the learning of the student.

Tool Selection
The tools that we use greatly impact how students learn, how we teach, what we teach and how we assess. Before we decide which tool to use we must always think about the message that is being sent through the medium we are using. What type of learnings are benefiting from the tools we are using? Which type of learners are falling behind? We also need to consider what the purpose of the tool is. Are we using each tool for it’s intended purpose? Are we going beyond the simple cognitive or behaviouristic learning methods?

Technology also allows us many opportunities to assess our students learning but how can we ensure that our assessments are valid? Many assessment tools offer multiple choice or true/false questions. The issue with these types of questions is that they are usually surface level questions and don’t question deeper understanding. Students are also able to guess with some of these questions. Does guessing really show us what the students have learned? It is crucial that we are evaluating the tools and consider the message that is being sent using the tools that we are selecting. We must always be questioning and evaluating the purpose of the tool. This is a great article to read if you need guidance for integrating technology effectively.

Both teachers and students (but especially teachers) have to know how to seamlessly integrate technology into teaching and learning

Advantaged Vs Disadvantaged Students
In all of our presentations we discussed who is advantaged and disadvantaged when we use technology. This is an interesting concept to think about because it boils down to the perspective you are looking at it from. If we start by looking at socio-economic status (SES) it is clear that a divide exists between those who can afford technology and those who cannot. We need to work at bridging this gap and allow those who are disadvantaged to have the same opportunities within our classrooms. Perhaps if students do not have devices to work on at home they get priority over those who do when using technology in the classroom. Whatever the scenario it is important to attempt to level the playing field in regards to access to technology.

Another perspective we need to think about is those who are at a disadvantage because of a disability whether it be physical, emotional or mental. For some of these students assistive technology can greatly impact their learning and make things more equitable for them. We must ensure that other students and parents do not think that the student using assistive technology is being given the upper hand. The reality is that if they didn’t need the tool, they wouldn’t use it. There are stereotypes and labels that are associated with students who use assistive technology. Often times students who use these devices feel as though they are singled out and “different” because they need additional support from the tool. We need to work towards eliminating these stereotypes and labels.

 

 

 

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Actually, it’s Virtual Reality.

The first few lyrics to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is all I can think of when I think about virtual reality (VR). If you aren’t already familiar with virtual reality, to put it simply it’s a type of technology that allows you to experience another environment through sight. This happens by using a headset that tracks your head and eye movements to change the image you are seeing within the headset changing the environment you are experience. Our brains are triggered through the image and movement to make the experience more lifelike. Why might someone use virtual reality? There are a variety of reasons for using VR that go beyond simply entertaining ourselves. There are 9 different industries that use VR for training, education or experiences. Sharon discusses some VR tools that Sask Polytechnic use here in Regina to train their nurses. VR is being used to help treat patients with dementia and for teaching someone how to walk again. For an overview of virtual reality and how it works check out this video.

Amy found a really great Ted Talk discussing how virtual reality should be used to develop empathy through experiencing the lives of others around the world. I cannot even fathom what it would be like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes in a war torn country or a country where children must walk miles to get to school. Yes I have seen videos or documentaries, but those videos do not give me the same experience that VR could. I had never thought of using VR in this way before and I think that this would is an incredible way to use the technology.

Photo Credit: bmward_2000 Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: bmward_2000 Flickr via Compfight cc

Augmented Reality (AR) is another type of reality that can be experienced using technology. This is when we experience reality by combining the real world with overlaying information. Some forms of AR I am familiar with are found while watching TSN or other sports on TV. The first down line on an football field is an augmented reality, it can be argued that slow motion is a form of augmented reality as well because it helps us examine a clip more closely to see what happened. Charles Arthur provides a thorough description of AR by discussing the development, AR apps and the future of advertising using AR. Bill and Logan introduced us to Aurasma which is an AR app that has so many uses within the classroom. Rochelle described how she uses Aurasma at her school by having students create book reviews for the books in the library. A book review is just one example of the many ways AR can be used in education and within our classrooms.

Of course we can’t forget about the digital divide when we think about integrating these experiences in our classrooms. We must always remember that all students come from different socio-economic backgrounds and that the access to technology among them might vary. The cost to implement VR technology in our classes can also be very expensive (unless we use Google Cardboard which is reasonably priced).

I can definitely see myself using a word wall for my math courses and integrating some of the virtual experiences into my technology class. I am really interested in Google Expeditions and want to find a way to integrate that into my technology class. This might be something that I could collaborate with another teacher to make it a cross-curricular activity mixing technology with social or science class. I was happy to hear so many of you already have experience with these different realities and I love hearing how you integrate them into your classes. If there is anything you are doing that uses these technologies I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Assistive Technology Doesn’t Just Involve Technology

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks Flickr via Compfight cc

I was a little apprehensive about having to write this post discussing the topic of assistive technology. I wasn’t sure that I would have a lot to say because I didn’t think I had a lot of experience with using assistive technology but after reading a few of my classmates blogs this week I was able to think about assistive technology from a new perspective. I teach at the same school as Andrew so my experience is much the same in the fact that I don’t have the variety of students that many other teachers have. I have had very few students with disabilities that need adaptations however there have been instances in which I have had to make adaptations. In my internship I had a student who was unable to read from anything printed on white paper so I had to print everything for them on yellow or green paper.  Another way that I have accommodated a student with a disability is by chunking their work. This involves breaking a big assignment down into manageable pieces for them so they don’t get overwhelmed and fail to finish the assignment.

I didn’t think that any of these adaptations could fall under assistive technology until I read Amy and Heidi’s blogs this week. Each blog discusses ways that we adapt that might not involve technology. If you check out the Understood website there is a large list of assistive technologies that don’t actually involve technology. After reading through some of the items in the list I realize that I do a lot more adapting than I had originally thought. In my math classes, students use calculators, graph paper, rulers, protractors and manipulatives. These are all assistive technologies. Other examples include chair cushions, fidgets, spell-check, timers and graphic organizers.

Dave Eayburn describes assistive technology as: “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability”. I feel like it’s a pretty good definition of assistive technology but I do think it assistive technology can help everyone, not just those with disabilities.

Assistive technologies (or ATs) are specialized technology (software and/or hardware) that are used by people with and without disabilities to adapt how specific tasks can be performed.

Photo Credit: DiegoMolano Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: DiegoMolano Flickr via Compfight cc

I think that assistive technologies go beyond hardware and software and include any object or device that allows us to be more efficient or productive. We all use assistive technology everyday; computers, phones, word processors, Siri, microwaves and cars are just some examples of the daily items we use that assist us. Obviously there are some devices (hearing aids, braile, sensory objects to name a few) that are more helpful to those who have disabilities and which impact these individuals more in their daily life than my everyday life. For example, could I get by without a computer? Sure I could, but my work life would be a lot less productive. I appreciate having the technology to use but if the computer was never invented I wouldn’t know any different and I would be able to carry out my job no problem. However, someone who is blind and never learns to read braile will have significant issues reading and learning.

Google Read and Write was discussed a lot this past week and it was interesting to read teachers discuss their experience using it in their classrooms. Roxanne is able to integrate it into her daily language lessons and I think that it is a great tool to adapt for those who struggle, but is also a great tool for students who may not necessarily need the tool. There are a variety of features and two of them that I thought were really great were the vocabulary list and the word predictor. The word predictor is great for students who may be learning English or who struggle with reading.

I haven’t had any experience with the add on, but after watching this video there are a few suggestions that I have. The first is that when the picture dictionary is used it would be nice to have real, lifelike pictures to choose from as opposed to simple cartoons/clip art. My second suggestion isn’t just for Google Read and Write, but for all Text-To-Speech (TTS) software. It would be nice if the audio didn’t sound so robotic. Is it too much to ask to have it sound more like an audiobook that is read by a real person? Now I know that it isn’t as easy to develop software that can do that but my hope is that sometime in the future we get there. I can’t imagine having to use TTS often and having to listen to Mr. Roboto talk to me. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here is a sample from the article we were asked to read this week. It had a listen option so I decided to click it to see how it sounds. Let’s just say I didn’t listen to the whole file and can’t imagine having no option but to listen to it.

One final thought is based on a recommendation from the article Rethinking Assistive TechnologyThe article has seven recommendations for rethinking assistive technology and the one that stood out to me the most was that we should consider using “technology enhanced performance” as a replacement for the term “assistive technology”. The reason I like this so much is because it breaks down the barriers and stigmas that might be associated with students who use the assistive technology. The adaptations shouldn’t be something that makes users feel singled out or different and changing the name of it might help break down those barriers a bit.

What are your thoughts? How do you adapt for your students? Do your adaptations always involve technology or are some of the adaptations less sophisticated? Have you had any experience with TTS software and did it involve a Mr.Roboto? Do you think TTS software will ever sound ‘human’?

Space Racing through assessments using Socrative

I was challenged to integrate a digital assessment tool into my classroom this week and talk about my experience in a variety of ways. Unfortunately I am without students for the rest of this week (conferences tomorrow, PD Thursday and Remembrance Day Friday) so I am going to discuss an experience I had just last week using Socrative. I have discussed Socrative in previous posts as I spent some time exploring it last year in another course. However, at the time I was off on maternity leave so I wasn’t able to integrate it into my classroom until this year.

Last week I had the perfect opportunity to use it as a method to review for an accounting midterm that was heavily based on concepts and terms involved in the class. I used Socrative to create two quizzes; one was a multiple choice quiz covering 30 terms and the other was a true/false quiz covering accounting concepts learned through the first half of the semester. I decided to use the quiz in 3 different ways.

Students engaged in the space race

Students engaged in the space race

I first used the true/false quiz as an independent assessment that was teacher paced. A teacher paced quiz is one in which I control when the next question appears. One benefit of the teacher paced method is you can display the answer and discuss it before moving on. It was a great way to see the areas where students may be misunderstanding concepts and address these misunderstandings. Being that it was a true/false quiz it displayed the percentage of students that selected true and those who selected false. It was a really good way to see immediate results and discuss concepts.

I then used the Space Race feature to divide the class into 4 teams that competed to win the race by answering the multiple choice questions discussing the terms. This feature was very interesting and has advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages:
– can select up to 20 teams; you can assign students to teams or have site create teams for you
– creates friendly competition
– students were very engaged
– students can see correct/incorrect responses

Disadvantages:
– students seemed to think it was based on the team to finish first which made them rush
– when teams were losing some students got upset and were discouraging their classmates
After noticing that many of my students were rushing through the answers and hearing some of their end results (12/30, 17/30 etc etc) I decided that I wanted students to redo the test independently as a student paced quiz.

The student paced quiz allows students to go about the questions at their own pace. You can select whether the correct answer is displayed after they submit the answer for each question so students get immediate feedback. They are able to go back and change their answers if they get them wrong, but the question will remain marked as incorrect on the teacher report so it doesn’t help the student earn a higher percent. From the teacher perspective I think this is a big plus for the tool.

Students generally thought the tool was a great way to review. Some students took it more seriously than others and it was quite obvious that that was the case for some students. This was really apparent for students who were giving fake names as opposed to their real names (ie. RIPHarambe, Harambe, Mickey Smith). Maybe these students were worried their results would be made public or that their classmates would see their responses, but that is another great feature of the tool, you can select whether names appear or not. If you want to be able to use the results with a purpose students must put their real name, otherwise there is no way you will be able to tell who answered what. After each quiz you can chose to show the results with or without names to the class. Regardless of whether you share the results with the class, reports are created for you to access at anytime.

Screenshot of report created by Socrative

Screenshot of report created by Socrative

As you can see from the results table, this is a great way to see which questions students are really struggling with. For example question 15 & 20 had very poor scores while #13 and #22 had great results. This is an easy way for me to see common mistakes within the class as a whole as well as individual students who are struggling. You can also see the buttons that allow me to see student names (which is off so names are represented as stars), as well as answers. If I turn the answers off all the data will be hidden until I turn the show answers button back on.

Overall I thought the experience with Socrative was beneficial to both myself and the students. I was using it as a tool to review information in a “fun” interactive way so I hadn’t planned on using the results for actual assessment purposes. Having used the site I can see the value in it and will be using it for more formative assessments in the future. I prefer this site to Kahoot because it seems a little more ‘professional’ or academic as compared to Kahoot. To me, Kahoot seems very game based and elementary so I didn’t find it suitable for my high school students and what I wanted this activity to be. I found it to be very easy to set up and user friendly for both the teacher and the students. For myself I don’t know that I would ever use this for a summative assessment only because students need phones or computers to complete the quizzes which opens up the doors for texting/chatting or searching for answers while the assessment is being completed. The biggest disadvantage is the access to technology. I have 22 students in my class and 10 students needed to use a school laptop to participate in class. Depending on the socio-economic status and age of your students this may be the same case for your classes.

I highly recommend giving Socrative a try especially if you teach middle years or high school. If you want to check out my youtube channel I have a few tutorials that demonstrate how to set up a quiz, view reports and run the quizzes that you might find useful. There are a lot of tools out there that provide different forms of assessment, especially formative assessment. Whatever tool you choose remember to choose it wisely after giving the assessment purpose some thought.  Technology can change the way we assess making it more efficient and help us improve the learning environment.

What is your “go to” tool for online assessment? When and how do you use it? Do you think that we will eventually move away from pen & paper type assessments to more online forms of assessment?

 

Throw away that curriculum…web 3.0 is coming!

If only the web and education were as easy as 1, 2, 3. I have read through a lot of blogs and articles this week trying to fully understand where we are headed with education and web 3.0. I’m glad that some of my classmates are still struggling to fully comprehend web 3.0 because I feel the same way. I don’t think you can blame us though, it seems that there really is no clear understanding of it and even Wikipedia struggles to understand it (thanks to Andrew for pointing this out). But we do know some things. Here’s what I know based on my readings, discussions and reflections from this past week.

Jackie Gerstein provides a thorough explanation of web 1.0 through 3.0 and also discusses the transformation of education from education 1.o – 3.0. Jackie summarizes each of these ideas with explanations and also considers the learning theories that are involved. I have summarized what I took away from her article in the table below.

Screenshot of a table I created in MS Word

Screenshot of a table I created in MS Word

Photo Credit: bethannigrams Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: bethannigrams Flickr via Compfight cc

Many of my classmates were able to summarize and explain the differences between web 1.0, web 2.0 and web 3.0. Erin did a great job summarizing the key points and discussing what a “good student” looks like for each of these. I feel as though we are all familiar with a web 1.0 student at this point in time. A web 1.0 student can “look up” anything and find information online in order to memorize or write down information. It is a one way learning situation. The student is a passive learning going with the flow of what they come across on the internet. I feel as though a lot of teachers use this method of teaching when they use the internet. Sadly, I feel as though many teachers don’t move beyond web 1.0 when using the web.

The web 2.0 student is just as easy to spot although there aren’t as many of these students as there are web 1.0 students. The web 2.0 students are able to collaborate, connect and create by using online spaces to their advantage. They have an online presence and personal learning networks established through blogs or social media. Students are no longer passive learners who simply receive information. They produce, discover and generate ideas by working with others to develop and learn. They work with others to build on information and construct understanding of the material.

Photo Credit: marktmcn Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: marktmcn Flickr via Compfight cc

Web 3.0 is a little harder to define as we haven’t really jumped into that part of the pool yet. We are just dipping our toes in at this point. Web 3.0 is going to take us away from traditional learning styles and more importantly teaching styles. When I think about web 3.0 I think of learning that has no boundaries, is extremely flexible and is completely personalized. As teachers, we would move away from actually teaching material to becoming facilitators who help our students along the way. We would work as collaborators and help students locate information they are seeking. Curriculums will no longer be necessary as each student is learning what they want and each student will be learning something entirely different from the student sitting next to them. Outcomes will be done away with and student success will be determined by themselves. Student success may end up being based on whether they have learned what they need to learn in order to land them a position in the career field they are interested in. Some students will find success earlier than others while others will struggle to be self-determined learners. It is the teachers role to encourage students to become self-determined and motivate them to discover what interests them. This is my somewhat EXTREME version of what web 3.0 will look like…am I too far off??

Regardless of where we are at, we must continue to move forward. We may feel as though web 3.0 is a long ways away but technology is changing at an incredible rate so we must start preparing now. As I mentioned earlier, many of us as well as our students are still stuck in web 1.0 when we have been living in a world of web 2.0 for a number of years now. It’s time for us to move forward from education 1.0 to education 3.0. As teachers we need to be advocates for our students and part of this is ensuring we are moving forward ourselves.

What do you see as your biggest barrier in moving away from web 1.0 teaching methods? Would you consider yourself a web 2.0 teacher or do you find yourself being caught in the web 1.0 trap? I’d also love to hear your comments on my web 3.0 thoughts in terms of how I think it could change education.

 

 

Separated by distance, connected through a screen – online education.

My experience with distance education has been fairly minimal. This is my fourth online class as a graduate student and I took one as an undergrad way back in 2007…or 2006. Although the classes are online, I have never really consider them to be included as distance education. I guess that’s because I live in the same city that the courses are being offered, but just because I live in the same city the courses are being offered doesn’t mean they aren’t distance education courses. They are exactly that. Tony Bates describes what distance education looks like:

Students can study in their own time, at the place of their choice (home, work or learning centre), and without face-to-face contact with a teacher.

Photo Credit: MyTudut Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: MyTudut Flickr via Compfight cc

Obviously technology and the internet play a huge role in this process. I think it’s important to discuss the different ways that these courses can take place. Our courses are synchronous meaning that they happen at the same time for everyone. There is a specific time and place that we need to be online to participate in the class each week. Another way the course can be presented is asynchronously  in which participants work at their own pace completing modules or learning tasks by a specific date. And the last way a course can be offered is through a blended method. A blended classroom offers both online and face-to-face components.

There are advantages and disadvantages to all methods of learning online. I have found that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by far. The biggest advantage for me has been the convenience of being able to work from home. Working as a teacher and having two toddlers at home makes this method ideal for me. I also appreciate the collaboration and network that is created within the class through the media we use. A disadvantage for me is that I find it harder to stay focused during class as well as be productive outside of class. This goes back to a previous post of mine discussing the internet and productivity. 

I don’t know that I would enjoy an asynchronous method because I feel like I need the ability to connect with others. Luke did a really good job discussing the importance of making the connections and establishing networks while we learn. This is something that we need to consider when we are looking at how courses are delivered. If I had to base the course offering method solely on how students are able to connect obviously I would put synchronous first, followed by blended and then asynchronous. However, this order would change depending on what factor we are looking at. For example, asynchronous might be best for those people who have busy schedule that would be better suited by the flexibility of the course.

Photo Credit: Janitors Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Janitors Flickr via Compfight cc

Like many of my classmates have already mentioned, zoom is a great tool to use for an online class. Stephanie talks about the user friendly aspect of zoom as well as the social aspect and I would have to agree that they are both positives in my mind as well. Since most of us in class are familiar with zoom I won’t go into too many details about the usefulness of the platform but I will take some time to talk about Google Hangouts because I was just introduced to it this weekend at an SBTA meeting. At our meeting we were trying to find a more user friendly way to collaborate and meet rather than having some people travel from 2+ hours away to have these monthly meetings. I had suggested Zoom because I am familiar with it and another teacher mentioned Google Hangouts (learn more here). Both tools can be used for free with certain restrictions on the free accounts.

Photo Credit: Piyushgiri Revagar Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Piyushgiri Revagar Flickr via Compfight cc

As Elizabeth mentioned in her blog, it’s great that we are trying to create more online learning opportunities through videos or online content, but we have to remember that adding a computer to stream content is not too different than us teaching the content at the front of the class. I strongly encourage you to read Audrey Watters take on online education. Audrey makes it very clear that providing content using the web doesn’t change how we are teaching it or the way students are learning the materials. The web allows us to do so much more than simply read, write and listen. We are able to connect and collaborate with others from great distances. We can choose what we learn and how we want to learn the material. We need to remember that many of the platforms we use online control a lot of what we do by using templates and algorithms creating these “template selves”.  Online education will not reach it’s full potential until we can break free from these templates and create our own information, our own learning experience and share our own thoughts.

Regardless of the learning method used online I feel very strongly that there needs to be a social and emotional connection between the learners as well as the teacher in the class. Zoom allows us to connect with each other in ways that we may not be able to in a face to face class. It allows communication to always be flowing through discussion in the chat and allows us to share resources using links. Having said all of this I haven’t taken a blended or asynchronous course before, have you? What did you find were the advantages and disadvantages? Do you feel that we need to have a social connection within our learning environment to learn? Can we have those same connections through a chat or email? Or does that make it more difficult? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Productivity and the internet – or lack therof

In deciding which productivity and presentation tools to focus on for our presentation we knew we had to include the internet in our discussion. After all it is one of the biggest productivity tools in our modern day society isn’t it?

The truth is that the internet is one of the greatest tools in terms of getting things done. I can access information, shop, read and watch videos anytime anywhere with the use of the internet. I can send an email in a matter of minutes making it an efficient way to communicate and connect. Can’t get to a phone while at work? No problem, I can most likely email the person I am trying to get a hold of instead. There are countless ways that the internet improves productivity including mobility, inspiration, knowledge, networking, organization and recreation. However, as with many things there is a down side.

The downside is that the internet provides a wealth of information, connections and ways to “kill time” which creates distractions from the task at hand. As one author on lifehack put’s it,

Getting information from the net is like getting a cup of water, sitting under the Niagara falls. We certainly get a cup of water, the problem is that we also get far more than we need. – Tejvan Pettinger

The internet provides a vast amount of information which can be an amazing thing, but it can also be our biggest enemy. I’m sure you’ve found yourself frantically going back and forth  between multiple tabs checking social media, news and random websites that you’ve come across never really accomplishing much more than going in circles. If for some crazy you reason you don’t know what I’m talking about I’ll let James Hamblin explain.

The idea of #tablessthursday is one that I personally find to be a great idea. We are a society of multitaskers, however it has been proven over and over again that when we try to do two, three…or 10 things at once we are less efficient than if we focus on one task at a time. Why do you think distracted drivers get into so many accidents?

Amy wrote a great post reflecting on how often she finds herself multitasking, not just while using the internet, but while cooking, getting kids ready or just thinking. As humans, it seems to be natural for our minds to wander and to have it running 100 miles a minute. From a very young age we have been training our brains to focus and pay attention to the task at hand. This seems to be increasingly difficult to do as we have so many distractions from social media, the internet, tv, radio etc. etc.

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Photo Credit: rishibando Flickr via Compfight cc

So how do we combat the constant urge to multitask? The answer…mindfulness. We need to be conscious of the way we are managing our time and the number of tasks we are trying to accomplish at a time. There a number of ways that we can combat multitasking and start single-tasking. One suggestion is to start by making one small change. This can be as simple as not checking emails during breakfast and focus on eating the foods that are nourishing your body. Do you find yourself checking Facebook when you should be working? Try a website blocker such as Cold Turkey to help you block these distractions.

Photo Credit: danielfoster437 Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: danielfoster437 Flickr via Compfight cc

The internet is certainly a productivity tool in my life. I am able to connect with people more efficiently for work, I can shop, I can find resources and activities for school and the list goes on. I don’t think that we can say that the internet isn’t a productivity tool. It most certainly is, but when we use it with no focus it can quickly become a big waste of time. We need to be conscious of what we are doing and minimize distractions by focusing on one task at a time. We like to think that multitasking is helping us but you might want to read why single tasking will make you smarter before you continue to attempt multitasking.

I find that with so much on the go I am getting better at single-tasking. I need to make use of my time wisely and I have found that multitasking doesn’t work for me. I make a list, use website blockers and set my phone aside to help keep me on track. What are some ways that you attempt to be more productive while using the internet? I’d love for you to share in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Vintuitive Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Vintuitive Flickr via Compfight cc