I recent attended the eLearning Network event ’10 things every learning designer should know’ and whilst the event gave me a few ideas to mull over, what really had an impact on me was a chance conversation that I had during the mid-morning break, which if I’m being honest, shocked me a little and distracted me for the rest of the day.
Allow me to explain…
During the first session of the day Bryan Hopkins from UNHCR made a general reference to the fact that “people can’t possibly be learning effectively if they are tapping away on mobile devices“(paraphrased). This led to a few giggles on my table, as at that very moment I was tapping away on my iPad.
During the mid-morning break I made reference back to that incident and drew a parallel to a meeting I was in during the early Summer where everybody was taking notes, however I was the only one taking them on an iPad, whereas everybody else was taking them with pen and paper. The meeting organiser actually stopped after 10 mins and asked what I was doing; when I told (and showed) them what I was doing, they still admitted that the fact I was on a mobile device made them feel uncomfortable.
Now I had expected the people I was regaling this tale to over a cuppa to be sympathetic to my situation however I was wrong!
Instead 3 of the 4 people indicated that it would also put them off and make them question whether or not I was truly paying attention during the meeting and whether I was genuinely taking notes. We threw this around for a couple of minutes with me even pulling the old “who’s to say I’m paying attention/taking genuine notes, just because I’m using a pen and paper” but even this didn’t sway them.
I quickly popped smoke and withdrew back to the safety of the main area and discussed this back at my groups table, where, you may be surprised (or maybe not) to discover that the majority of those people also expressed doubt/concern/worry/frustration etc over people using mobile devices to take notes during learning events, meetings etc.
Had I been in any other environment than the one I was in yesterday I probably wouldn’t have been overly surprised….
… But this was an eLearning Network event!!!!
Surely eLN members would ‘get’ the advantages of using technology to aid productivity even if it wasn’t in an overtly ‘learning’ context, wouldn’t they?
And that’s what led me to this particular blog title, because it appears I was wrong.
Or was I?
Is it reasonable to expect us and our learners to use technology to aid our/their productivity in areas and in situations that have traditionally used pen and paper?
Should we maintain traditional practices for meetings but attempt to push forward with new practices when the output has an overt ‘learning’ tag attached to it?
Do you use technology to aid your personal productivity or not?
Are you encouraging/discouraging of others to do so?
Oh and for those of you who are wondering exactly what I was tapping away on my iPad for, I was producing this mindmap of the days sessions, which I am now sharing with others.
For those of you I was annoying, why not share your handwritten notes with us all?
Image sources: Click one each image to be taken to the individuals Flickr profile page.