Recently, Google for Education published a Global Report on the Future of the Classroom. I wanted to share two notable highlights from the report that we think will continue to drastically impact both educators and leaders within organizations. Many of the findings of the full report linked above relate deeply to how we continue to connect (or not) in a digital age.

Here are two ideas that really personally stuck out to me on the future of education:

1. The average amount of time kids under 8 years old spent with mobile devices each day tripled between 2013 and 2017 

Woah! A shift that large impacts the brain. Unsurprisingly, the concept of “digital hygiene” has been coined to address the way digital technology can be integrated into our lives in safe, healthy, responsible, and respectful ways.

Technology is a tool—just like a hammer. Like a hammer though, you can use it to build a house, or change the world. You can also blow out your kneecaps with a hammer. From what I’ve noticed in schools, universities, and organizations, when a tool is used without a clear intention, it is much more likely to cause damage.

On a completely different related note…  

2. 91% of CEOs globally are saying that they need to strengthen their organisation’s soft skills 

This is resulting in skills such as empathy, confidence, and teamwork being incorporated into lessons to be taught alongside traditional subjects like Math and English. Research suggests that higher levels of emotional intelligence are linked with better leadership and ability to cope with pressure. Parents, teachers, and leaders want students to develop problem solving alongside digital skills so they will be better prepared for future jobs.

Turning this Data Into Action

Now what? We have here two related ideas: (1) we are overusing our technology and (2) there is a deficit of soft skills as students exit the education system and jump into the world of work. 

I have one small and simple recommendation on how to bring technology and human, face-to-face technology together: pair them up. 

For educators, this might mean that for each lesson that involves lots of screen time, you may want to kick off with some in-person “connection before content.” 

For leaders, if you expect a person’s workday to involve a ton of screentime, it can be powerful to take the social risk for your team to kick off some meetings with a We! Connect Card question.

Personally, what if set time limits on some of our most addicting apps?

Hope you enjoyed this small reminder of how we might be more conscious with our tech. To be honest, there is always an irony to our own expertise. I wrote this article to serve as a reminder for myself as much as I wrote it to be a global reminder to be intentional with the tools that we have access to. 

Have an awesome day!

Chad Littlefield
Co-founder and Chief Experience Officer at We and Me, Inc.
SpeakerAuthor, and Co-creator of the Connection Toolkit


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