“Digital Life” and Apple’s “Screen Time”
This week I tracked the time I spent on my phone, the applications I used and number of phone ‘pickups’ each day. I was surprised mainly by the number of times I ‘picked up’ or open my phone every day – more than 70 times one day! How dependent am I on my phone? I use it every day and take it with me everywhere. It plays my music, has my emails, messages, social media, audio books, photos, and much more.
This week I decided to explore how ‘dashboards’ of data and behaviour are easily available to many phone or technology users. If the main goal of student ‘dashboards‘ is to informa teachers of student performance, and ‘nudge’ students in the ‘right’ direction, by changinig behaviour, then how is the ‘Screen time’ dashboard different?
On one wand technology companies create products that are very enticing, interesting to use and almost essential to the ‘modern’ digital life. On the other hand, the same company, in this case Apple, creates a ‘dashboard’ of screen time information and behaviour, that passes all the responsibility to it’s users. Since reviewing this data, I’ve decided to ‘disable’ the weekly notifications of my screen time I would receive every Monday morning. Most of the time I would ignore the notification, other times I would have quick look at the key data, especially the first line saying whether my ‘screen time’ was higher or lower compared to the previous week. Some time ago, as a result of this ‘screen time’ data, I would decide to delete a specific social media app that I thought I was spending too much time in, to later go back to install it again a few weeks or days later. This was a lot similar to the experience the author of this article went through.
In a similar way, students are trained to respond to the data available to them in different student ‘dashboards’, whether it is asking students to insert an emoji in a Teams chat at the beginning of the lesson to represent their mood that day, or whether LMS create detailed ‘report cards’ of the student’s behaviour online. I wonder wether students are becoming dependent on direct and immediate feedback to value and measure their learning. I wonder if the ideas of ‘success’ and ‘failure’ in education are being re-defined in a new way, in a ‘data analytics’ way.
For the time being, I’ll stay away from more personal ‘dashboards’ that make me feel guilty about my screen usage during pandemic times.