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How can technology battle the goldfish effect created by social media?


Through mobile devices we, as a society, are more interconnected than ever. The screen time on our phones shows us that the social media which makes us so connected is also dominating our time. As a result, this has created the ‘goldfish effect’, alarmingly shortening the human attention span especially among younger people where social media remains a dominant factor in how they engage with their peers.

By releasing dopamine, the feel-good chemical, social media’s reinforcing nature makes platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok addictive for users and as a result can decrease, disrupt and delay sleep, link to mental health issues and impact memory loss. This is especially common amongst the younger generation and has knock-on effects, including a lower attention span which can impact their ability to focus in the classroom. If social media is not monitored it can have a detrimental effect on academic performance, especially on maths and literacy skills for future generations. If users are using media platforms to excess, it can become hard to focus on tasks such as completing homework and studying because social media intervals are taken which disrupts the ability to process and complete tasks.

By refocusing the younger generation’s attention on interactive learning, schools can combat the impact that social media apps have on sleep, academic performance, and mental health.

So, what does this mean for young people in school where engagement is invaluable in keeping those being educated interested and focused?

Adaption for improved education

The use of interactive projectors within an education setting can help create an immersive experience due to the ability to visually stimulate its users and increase the attention span of students even in large classrooms. In turn, this increases class participation and the absorption of information as presentations help avoid and misread what would alternatively be written on a whiteboard – this has resulted in interactive learners scoring 25% higher in certain tests. As well as this, educators can tailor their teaching style to prevent children and young adults from switching off – making projectors integral to enhancing the assimilation of new information as the projector adds a lever to the teaching-learning process.

Whilst the effects of social media are concerning, educational organisations cannot simply cut out a student’s consumption of mobile devices entirely. Instead, importance should be placed on emphasising ways in which students can become encouraged to put downtheir devices and focus on learning instead.

For example, interactive classroom projectors are used in classrooms to reinforce interactivity by drawing the focus of students towards the front of the class and away from their mobile devices. By offering interactivity, this way has the potential of being transformative. The product itself encourages group participants to be taken seriously, and optimal focus. Unlike handheld devices, projectors offer in-person digital experiences that cannot be consumed remotely.

The challenge educational organisations have is, how does one capture the attention of a generation whose focus lies in the hands of a major source of distraction. The answer is further along the digital landscape, with interactive projectors.

It is proven in museums that exhibitions using technology and projectors will increase the number of visitors who want to be part of a more tangible experience. Likewise, cinemas offer immersive experiences that create a thrill that social media cannot necessarilyfulfil for their audience. For example, immersive screenplay including the likes of 3D offers the audience something that will leave them not wanting to open an app during screen time.

This is especially common at universities where projectors are a popular choice for displaying content. This is because they offer the means to reach students in a different way, offering a new way of learning experiences. An example of this is being able to delve into 3D visuals on a large screen and actively participate in the lesson which is particularly useful for medical students when exploring the different elements of the human body.

With an understanding that social media has had an impact on concentration, powerpoints and presentations provide students with something that they can refer to once the class has finished. As a result, students do not need to worry that they feel behind or lack understanding in certain subjects because they can go at a pace that suits them better.

Recovering the academic potential of students

In order to benefit students’ learning experience, education organisations must be specific with what type of projector they need and ensure the investment is beneficial for both the teacher and student alike. For classrooms, research should be done ahead of investing in a projector as certain features are key for use within classrooms, such as projector power and energy saving features. The demand for projectors is expected to continue in schools due to learning opportunities, reliability, cost efficiency and laser technology – it is clear the projector remains central to the world of learning. Therefore, the time to act in helping restore the academic potential of students is now.

Not only will these features help optimise student focus, but they will also conserve energy and money in the long run as projectors will automatically switch off if left running at the end of a school day. With a wide choice to choose from and new technological advancements ever-evolving, educational organisations are spoilt for choice.

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