How digital technology has revolutionized spaces for social, work and educational interaction
The world is undergoing profound changes due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The measures to stop the spread of contagion have affected the way we study, work and interact. This is the role that digital technology has played in this revolution.
Digital technology and social interaction
The isolation resulting from quarantines and social distancing has driven the use of social networks and information and communication technologies to interact with others. A study conducted in the United States in April of this year found increases in the use of:
- Text messages (43%)
- Voice calls (36%)
- Social networks (35%)
- Video calls (30%)
- Email (24%)
- Online video games (22%)
Considering all forms of remote sharing, 46% of respondents said their digital communication grew. They did not report reductions in use in any of the methods.
On the other hand, research indicates that younger people are more likely to increase their digital interactions. The same goes for women, those who live alone, and those concerned about their Internet access.
It is noteworthy that people are connecting more through the digital technology of video calls. This is more acute in countries with strict quarantines and in regular users of technology. However, the report ensures that 63% of those consulted with minor digital skills have increased their communication online.
Some researchers suggest that the online communication can improve social relations when people use it to strengthen the offline bonds they have with others. This effect depends on factors such as age, generation and technological skills.
In contrast, other studies suggest that this communication may also have social separation effects. Digital interaction tends to be more impersonal due to distance. In addition, it is associated with lower levels of empathy and higher levels of individualism.
Digital technology and work
The current context and digital technology have also impacted how we work. 68% of companies surveyed in Gartner’s 2020 Digital Workplace Survey said they have implemented a digital work strategy this year.
In the Spanish case, a third of employees have regularly worked from home due to the pandemic. Previously, the figure did not exceed 10%. IT innovation has been stimulating changes in the world of work for years. For the European Commission, the main ones are:
- Jobs modified by new technologies. New types of work emerge from these innovations, such as outsourcing platforms.
- Greater need for digital and soft skills. It is related to better paid vacancies and occupations with higher sustained growth.
- Diffusion of remote work.
These new sights come with some drawbacks, such as the risk of job losses from automation. Or conflicts arising from teleworking. According to a VitalSmarts study, people who work remotely:
- They experience a lack of connection with their colleagues, excessive distractions and a lack of concentration.
- They feel disorganized and frequently have problems with the technology at their disposal.
Digital technology and education
Educational technology is here to stay. On one side, is critical for distance learning. According to a QS investigation, 63% of people interested in training in the European Union in 2020 reassessed their plans due to the pandemic. Of those consulted, two thirds had the intention of educating themselves online in European entities.
On the other hand, contributes to e learning and its effectiveness. The World Economic Forum estimates that students retain between 25 and 60% more information when learning online than in person. This has to do with what they can learn at their own pace.
Likewise, it promotes the generation of learning communities. digital technology it gives rise to the creation of knowledge between institutions, people, countries and even generational groups. In general, the so called technologies of the future have contributed to making education more:
- Personalized. Instructors and institutions get to know their educational communities better using artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and data analytics.
- Accessible. These technologies make training more flexible, allowing more people to access it. In addition, they involve reduced costs compared to face to face education.
- Interactive and deep. Tools such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality give rise to learning through action.
This is how the digital technology it has impacted the way in which the world interacts, works and studies. What accounts for the revolution that has taken place in the way we communicate and in these spaces.
Header image: Chris Montgomery