Now it’s established what exactly tech fatigue is and what causes it, let’s take a look at some of the steps that can be taken to reduce it.
Opt for simple solutions
Learning how to use new technology can be a real headache for students. So before choosing new options to assist students learning, first find out how steep the learning curve is. Take Glean, it doesn’t require any training sessions and can be picked up by students in five minutes. And if students have any questions, the in-app help will direct them to us, not you. This may be especially important for students with disabilities; the aforementioned survey found 72% of participants reported difficulty for students with disabilities accessing technology.
Stress the importance of regular breaks
Given the context, it’s easy to understand why some students are feeling particularly stressed and under pressure to perform. For such students, more messaging around the importance of taking regular breaks away from their screens may be useful and could be just the nudge they need (or for some, permission) to switch off guilt free.
On a similar note, highlighting the fact that not all learning has to take place in front of a screen could be beneficial. For example, Glean works across devices and the mobile app allows students to listen back to classes on their headphones while they’re doing something else, such as walking. The ‘Reading View’ feature also enables students to print out their notes in a fuss-free format, which can be useful for reviewing away from a screen.
Encourage other wellbeing practices
Limiting tech exposure could play a big role in some students’ wellbeing and more than ever it’s important that students are taking care of their physical and mental health. Continue to signpost support on offer at your institution, and encourage students to proactively engage in activities that are good for their health, such as getting enough physical exercise.
It’s important that academic staff understand the ramifications of too much technology for students. As such, it may be worth repeating the importance of prioritizing, as not everything needs to be delivered via video call. And when meetings do require a video call, the benefits of keeping them brief should be reiterated.
Request student feedback
As ever, student feedback is vital. It’s important to check-in with them to find out how they are coping with this drastically different setup. In addition to the benefit of the student feeling listened to, they may also have some useful suggestions that may not have occurred to you.