Way back in the white heat of the technology revolution, we were told of a world where technology would take over the mundane and the repetitive, leaving us free to pursue detail and interest, unencumbered by 'workload'. In the late eighties and early nineties, serious discussions were held on how society would cope with a population that was largely pursuing leisure due to automation and technology assistance. Itís a vision of the future that didnít survive its meeting with reality. 

The reasons for teacher wellbeing becoming a priority are many and varied. The attrition rate in teaching has once again reached crisis point in many areas. This, coupled with a growing acknowledgment and understanding of rising pupil mental health issues means that schools once again find themselves in the vanguard of a social revolution. 

At Computeam we believe that technology can have a positive impact across all areas and certainly has the capacity to be useful in helping teachers manage general workload, subject understanding, teaching, classroom management and assist in personal wellbeing. 

Managing generic workload is an area where technology can bring immediate benefits (the average working week for a teacher is 60 hours). It's important that school leaders understand that the provision of quality technology and usage policies can have a very positive impact. Providing quality personal hardware such as teacher iPads, well designed wireless networks and support structures can relieve the burden many teachers have of trying to wrestle with their school infrastructure that should be a powerful tool. For example, a fast, reliable network providing access to YouTube, a more open approach for teachers to create resources and then deliver them easily and more importantly reliably in the classroom is a huge time saver. How many teachers are still having to wait until they are at home to create and collate resources on their own personal equipment that they probably can't use in school? 

Well planned infrastructure ensures that pupils have access to quality resources, are taught by teachers well equipped to operate in a modern classroom, which in turn positively impacts pupil behaviour, engagement and attainment. Management systems, cloud-based storage that allows access anywhere and well-planned usage policies all add up to an environment that assists, not inhibits teaching practise and innovation. And of course, helps reducing teacher workload. 

Technology also has a significant part to play in directly combatting the effects of stress on the profession. Away from the more formal structures of well-planned networks and provision of equipment and resources, many stress provoking realities of working in schools do not have technological solutions. However, providing personal devices and well managed access to mindfulness resources and programs can have major benefits for teachers and pupils alike.  An open approach to devices in certain contexts can help teachers access these resources that tie in to many formal support programs being developed in response to the push to provide wellbeing solutions. 

So if you're reading this on your iPad in your free time, put it down, reach for the kettle or put your walking / running shoes on and get some fresh air. We're technology enthusiasts and evangelists but we know that sometimes the best technological help is the 'off' button. 

Posted on October 22nd 2018

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