It’s been nearly five years since I wrote my piece for the compendium of leading figures of learning technology that I published under the title Emergency Rations #EdTechRations: What’s so important we can’t leave it at home?
So, here we are in the back end of January 2022. What’s changed in my list of emergency technology rations in the last five years. What, if anything, has two years of remote working and a global pandemic had an influence on my tech?
In the book I wrote about my wearables; glasses, watch, etc. In this respect, I have upped my game – no, not fancy glasses with cameras or earbuds built-in, but my watch can now do more than tell the time AND date. In 2018 I jumped on the bandwagon and got myself an activity tracking watch. One charge will last about 5 days (a further 10 days of just time telling, but no tracking or stats) and I can see my steps for the day, flights of stairs climbed, heart rate, stress status, etc. I can sync it to my phone and then see more detailed stats over days and weeks (also through the website). Worst of all is that it keeps telling me to ‘move!” every so often, which is insulting enough in itself, but it’s also more often than not just after I’ve been out and been moving. I still have a love/hate relationship with it, and I’m quite happy to not wear it as much as the days when I do.
As for my phone, well, it’s still an iPhone, and I’m still one release behind the latest version, which is more to do with the contract I’m on than the need/want to have the latest. One big difference in how I use the ‘computer in my pocket’ is that I don’t have any games on it anymore. None. I still have the ever-growing collection of photos which I continue to manage on the phone and through the Dropbox backup I keep, but I like keeping a large number of photos on it for the AI-generated movies the iPhone occasionally creates for me based on photos on a particular date, a certain place, etc, over the years.
And it still isn’t being used as a phone.
The largest change in my #EdTechRations is that I don’t have a need for the tech bag, day bag, or bag of any kind. Since March 2020 I’ve worked from home. At the start of the pandemic, I was one of the many who were classified as extremely clinically vulnerable and therefore stayed at home for quite a long time, going out for exercise when I could and when I was allowed. Anything I needed for that walk from the front door (and back again) fitted in a pocket (keys, phone, etc), or I wore (headphones, watch, etc). Once restrictions lifted and we could go further afield and days out, local holidays even, I still didn’t need my bag. The need for my powerbar and collection of cables just isn’t there (my kids have the powerbar to charge their phones when they game with their friends – they sensibly ignore in-game chat and use WhatsApp to chat alongside playing).
These days I have a pair of on-ear AKG Y50BT bluetooth headphones, which serve me really well if I want to listen to music or the radio when I’m around other people, but the vibration when I walk is really noticeable through these headphones so I don’t wear them much when I’m out. And they’re bulky, which is good for sound and comfort, but I feel a bit silly walking around my village and local countryside with them on. For that, I have a pair of Apple Airbuds. Let’s be clear, I did not go and buy these, I still think they’re a waste of money (for what they are), but I got them as an Apple gift when I got a new iMac last year. For listening to music, taking calls, and working in they are remarkably good, as is the quality of audio. But I still don’t like in-ear headphones, they are not comfortable, to me, for more than about 10 minutes.
For me the changes brought by Covid-19 have meant I don’t need to think about my emergency rations as I’m rarely out of the home long enough, or far enough away from home, to need them. Holidays are just not a thing at the moment. Perhaps when I am working more regularly in the office or travelling for work/conferences or to see family I’ll resurrect my tech-bag and the things I used to have packed to keep me connected and powered up? Until then, I think it’s in the wardrobe not doing much.
So, in summary, a couple of devices have been upgraded, nothing new (in terms of what I would take if I was going out or away) but the major change (due to Covid-19) is that I am home more. Events or conferences have all been online and I can’t see myself attending a face-to-face one for a very long time to come.
What about you, what tech or habits of yours have changed in the last few years?
- Read the book and the wider contributions from the likes of Stephen Heppell, Maha Bali, Alec Couros, Ryan Tracey, Maren Deepwell, Sue Beckingham, Julian Stodd (to name but a few): Kindle and print editions – Emergency Rations #EdTechRations: What’s so important we can’t leave it at home?