Yoav Vilner is Co-Founder at Ranky and a regular blogger whose articles have been published on Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, VentureBeat and TheNextWeb.
Whether you’re double tapping Instagram pics, commenting on Facebook statuses or tweeting 142 characters or less, we’re all glued to our phones. We’ve become a society that worries more about losing our iPhone than our wallet, and we check our battery life more than the time of day. Gone are the days when strangers smile at each other on the street, instead we’re more likely to see the top of people’s heads as they stare at their shiny smartphone screen, trying not to walk into telephone poles. Our constant need to focus on the global communication network presents a perfect opportunity to broaden our horizons and educate ourselves in the most convenient way possible.
When it comes to cognitive strength and mental health, the phrase “use it or lose it” definitely applies. Evidence suggests that mental stimulation improves brain function and is crucial in reducing the chances of mental decline and related diseases. Mentally “exercising” allows our brain to grow stronger, faster and more capable of handling the millions of tasks it is confronted with every day.
Why not combine our tech driven world with the endless benefits of exercising our most important organ?
Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
In 2003, Harvard neurologist Gottfried Schlaug discovered that the brains of adult professional musicians had a larger volume of gray matter than the brains of those who do not play an instrument. He also found that musical training in early childhood for 15 months led to structural brain changes related to auditory and motor skills, making big strides for development.
Playing an instrument requires the use of several parts of your brain. Cognitive functions from both the right and left hemispheres of the brain work together simultaneously, efficiently stimulating the brain.
However, most of us don’t have the money or space for a grand piano so the idea of learning how to play in our busy lives feels like a far fetched dream. Tech makes it possible for us to use something as convenient as our smart phone to learn even the most intricate skills, like an animated online piano. You can use your smartphone or desktop to learn hundreds of songs and and become a modern day Mozart.
Parlez vous francais?
Learning a new language can also increase the size of your brain. By using MRIs, Swedish scientists discovered that specific parts of the brain of those learning a foreign language increased in size whereas those in the control group did not.
However, as native English speakers, we’re aware that 1.5 billion people around the world speak english and the idea of trekking to classes and paying money for private classes seems like a big commitment. Why not learn a new language with fun game-like lessons from the convenience of your own device? By using a language learning app you’ll be able to not only improve your brain, but also travel the world with confidence!
Knowledge is Power
One of the greatest benefits of our technological generation is the ability to supplement education outside of the classroom. Having access to the internet is like having a tutor who can help people of all ages better understand any subject. There are great sites out there that offer free online courses on all sorts of subjects.
Everyone learns differently, some people are visual learners and with access to online instructional videos, we all have the chance to better ourselves. Imagine sitting in study hall and being able to watch instructional videos to review your knowledge before taking an exam.
On YouTube, you can find tons of instructional videos devoted to guiding students every throughout every step of their education by identifying strengths and filling in learning gaps.