Technology vs #MentalHealth – It’s time for education to take a lesson in wellbeing.

For leaders in compulsory education, surrounded by young people looking to the future, there are lessons to be learnt from the next generation.The brilliant TED Talk ‘what adults can learn from kids’ by Adora Svitak is well worth a view in this context. 

Adora, twelve years old at the time of her TED Talk, was already a recognised prolific blogger and advocate for creativity. Adora talks about the ‘audacity to imagine’ a different way of working and thinking making the case for changing the willingness of ‘adults’ to learn from children.

A ‘Generation Z’ learner has much to teach older generations with workload pressures when using technology to get things done efficiently and with impact. They see no reason to use old technology with slow start up times and constant updates.

When faced with a problem the first thing they tend to do is to share the problem in online open collaborative spaces with trusted networks who can help.
Contrast this with previous generations who often do the exact opposite, trying to deal with complex problems in relative isolation whilst their technology just adds to their stress levels. There is a different and better way.

I was recently discussing this issue with Ian Grove-Stephensen, the CEO of two technology solutions designed to reduce the time teachers spend on relatively routine tasks like marking.
Ian pointed me to research that suggests educators spend typically 17% of their time on marking. Secondary School Teacher salary data was also factored into the research which concluded that more than £5,600 a year per teacher was spent on marking. 

“To put this into context, in a larger secondary school this equates to more than £360,000 a year spent on routine activity most of which can be automated.”

The UK Government articulates that teachers, lecturers and education experts must connect with innovative companies to harness the opportunities enabled by technology to reduce workloads and stress.

Technology will not provide a panacea for workplace health and wellbeing, but for educators reporting excessive workloads and associated stress it can be a compelling part of the solution