Are your reading this on Sunday, over a cup of coffee, or are you at your desk on Monday morning?

For many the distinction between working and leisure is getting very blurred. When does work end and when does home begin?

Can you “switch off” at the end of the day or are you checking the Twitter, e-mail, the VLE or other online services from home, on the sofa, whilst eating your tea, in bed just before your turn out the light, or if you have an iPad after the lights go out! Is checking the Twitter actually work anyway?

Technology can blur the demarcation that exists in the work-life balance, making it very easy to do work stuff outside the core hours of your institution.

Of course for learners the very technologies that blur the lines between home and work, can blur the demarcation between study and everything else. For many learners there is no demarcation, they can will study where and when they want to, in the past they may have used books and paper, now they use mobile browsers and e-book readers. The informal learning of the past was constrained, often to an individual activity, today informal learning can be, thanks to technology, an asynchronous or synchronous, collaborative, group experience. Many learning activities that would have been considered formal before, can now, through technology, be part of the informal learning that happens. Think about lectures, which are considered structured and formal, with YouTube, other video services, lecture capture, can now be accessed when and where the learner wants them, so blurring the formal and the informal. Discussion forums on the VLE allow seminar style activities to happen without the constraints of geography or time.

So is learning getting blurred in your institution?

What are the implications for teachers and learners?

4 thoughts on “Blurred”

  1. Thanks for this James.

    I’m sat in a local coffee shop on Sunday morning: I’ve “earned” a morning away from the family to catch-up on emails, tweets, paperwork, accounts, etc. Some of it is work, some of it is ‘work’, and some of it is enjoyable work. There is no distinction to these classifications as I enjoy what I do so, for the most part, I am happy working at all times of the day or night.

    The only downside of all this mobility and accessibility is that I am no longer able to switch off. The implication, since you asked, is that I am forever learning and growing, never standing still and never (I hope) getting complacent or bored with myself. That saying, I wish I could switch my brain off from time to time so I can properly enjoy time with my kids and family without thinking about learning objectives, workshops, conference paper submissions, presentations, emails, VLE, blogs, Twitter, etc, etc!

    All the best, David

    PS. I don’t check the VLE outside of work hours unless I have contact from a colleague or student who reports issues and there is an assignment due and the VLE is important to either work or submission.

  2. Sad but true – complete with coffee at 10.30am! Sometimes a quick catchup on the social media, easy-to-reply emails, tweets, blogs, news etc gives me more time for more in depth work on Monday morning and I can hit the ground running.

    Of course it’s enjoyable – and doesn’t take long – I’ll be off out shortly – not intending to do this all day!

    Alas, tomorrow morning is a 6.30 long distance train for a meeting at 11 – guess who will be sat with iPad, coffee and all?!!

  3. I certainly switch off completely – work is work and even if something is sent over the weekend I respond the following week, unless it is very urgent. It is easy having said that to see all the work emails and also read them as mobile technology has made this a lot easier to access – so on my iphone/pad I can see all the email accounts at the same time.

    I think it is important to leave work at work and do something else completely different, I would imagine that this depends on level of responsibility in your job – so managers may well still work evenings/weekends.

  4. I am now surrounded by an iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire and open laptop and I am making a big effort not to have anything but my phone available at the weekend until the Sunday evening ‘check and delete’ emails, Facebook etc. I have spent the last month reading paper hardcopy books during the day and for a few hours at a time to stop my butterfly brain. I like being connected but I have ceased to do ‘close’ reading of anything, even if it is of interest. I had some assignments to mark before the holiday and it brought home that I needed to slow down and concentrate.

    I haven’t, however, given up caffinated coffee of the highest quality. 🙂

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