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Digital Neuroscience 101 and the Importance of Empathy in Digital Experience Design

A talk by Rachel Drinkwater
Senior Business Analyst (Digital Teaching & Learning)

16 October 2020, 01:00 PM

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About this talk

“Technology is Making our Kids Stupid”, “We Now Have the Attention Spans of Goldfish”, “Mental Health Epidemic Caused by Social Media”, “Digital Platforms Cause Loneliness”, “Children as Young as Seven are Sexting”. These are familiar if rather sensationalist headlines. The media and researchers alike often adopt a negative rhetoric associated with digital device use, with particular focus on younger generations.

In this session:

We will explore how digital device use can affect the brain – and subsequently how this causes behavioural change

We will consider whether the messages we see in the press are founded and what this means to us as professionals in the education sector

We will also explore why and how we need to incorporate this information when we are designing systems and experiences for our students

And finally, we will discuss the importance of empathy in our systems, experience and cultural design, but also in taking responsibility for the impacts of the technological products and the experiences we design and develop


Increased awareness of the impacts the digital experiences we design have on society and our responsibilities in this area

Some practical points to consider when developing future digital products and experiences

A brief introduction to Design Thinking and how we can use this to be empathetic in our systems development

Rachel Drinkwater

Rachel Drinkwater is a Senior Business Analyst with over 16 years' experience of digital experience development projects. She is also a contributing writer for the British Computer Society and a freelance blogger who is fascinated by the effects of the digital world on society. In addition to working on designing and delivering innovative, engaging digital experiences, she writes about business analysis practice and the impact that the convergence of digital, business, technology and digital media has on society. She is also an actor and is on the Board of Directors of Teatro Theatre School, a charity who help disadvantaged young people build their confidence through the arts. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking around the English countryside, doing yoga, playing geeky board games and going to gigs and festivals.

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