James Hamblin’s video titled “Single-tasking Is the New Multitasking” was very relatable. I constantly have multiple tabs open at one time, ranging from course-related resources to personal interests. My use of the internet alternates between being a productivity tool and a mere distraction. When I set my phone aside and have a clean work space, I am better able to focus on my course assignments or my lesson planning, marking, report cards, etc. On the other hand, I am guilty of poor sleep hygiene habits; I sometimes go down a rabbit hole of watching videos, surfing the net, and browsing online shopping sites at bed time. I think the individual and context will dictate how productive or distracting the internet is; it has the possibility to be both.
My initial thought was that I wouldn’t necessarily consider us as being more productive now than we were pre-Internet and pre-Microsoft Office. The media has simply changed. For example, students now type their assignments on a word processor rather than handwrite their good copies on paper. Practically speaking, the speed of the internet should free up time to complete more tasks, but like James Hamblin noted, we are not fully present in the moment when we have multiple tabs or tasks on the go. This relates back to the distractions made possible through electronics and the Internet.
Anyways, I then thought of a change at my school that illustrates how the Internet can increase productivity in a workplace. At my current school, there was an increase in productivity and organization (and a decrease in paper materials) after the new vice principal created a dashboard on Google sites for the staff to use. Resources and important links to shared Google documents are stored on this dashboard (e.g., supervision schedules, Learning Improvement Team plans, year plans, data for reading, writing, math). There is also a feature to enter monthly Recognition of Service hours and Noon Supervision hours, making the requests for an Earned Day Off (or pay-out at the end of the year) easier to stay on top off. This dashboard has saved me a lot of time when it comes to entering data and locating needed documents. The vice principal who created this Google site and continues to update it went to a professional development event about using Google tools effectively in the classroom. He also used Google as a university student himself. Thus, Singleton’s (2021) discussion of preferring tools that you are familiar with matches my vice principal’s implementation of Google at our school. Although, I do think a lot of resistant staff members could have benefited from “robust professional development [to help] make the pedagogical shift easier on everyone” as Sheninger suggests (as cited in Bengfort, 2017).
While my school extensively uses Google to create and share documents, our division uses Office 365 for e-mail. I have not experienced the “either or” mentality in my workplace like some of my classmates spoke about on July 12. As a university student, I have used both Google (Docs and PowerPoint) as well as Microsoft (PowerPoint) to collaborate on group projects. I appreciated that Raquel, Deidra, Allison, and Kelly emphasized in their presentation that a lot of these tools were targeted for businesses to make a profit and weren’t necessarily created with education in mind. It is important to know this history in order to make a more purposeful and explicit connection to pedagogy when using productivity suites and tools in our classroom.
Bengfort, J. (2017, October 17). Schools leverage apps and easy-to-manage suites of learning tools. EdTech.
Singleton, C. (2021, June 23). Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace- Which is best for your business? Style Factory.