No one doubts that the internet and the other “virtual” social networks occupy an important space in our daily life. It is easy to see that they are almost indispensable tools. A month ago I was unlucky enough to have a virus attack my laptop. On that day and for the time it took the technician to repair it I saw my total dependence on this small device and on this other reality to which it connects me. My class timetable, the course materials that I had to read that week, the book that I had to reserve in the library, even the reports that were half written, all involved me using my technological device. I must admit that it was not very pleasant to feel that an important part of my life depended on that tool working.
I am taking the Master in Sports Management and Direction at the Barcelona School of Management-UPF and, although I know that sport is not something virtual (except in video games), you are obliged to enter this world in order to study it. To intend to follow a postgraduate programme without making use of technology would be to try to sabotage yourself, true madness and a disadvantage compared with anyone else. To learn we need information and nowadays that is almost synonymous with switching on a computer.
I always knew that it would not be easy to study a passion, such as sport, especially as it is currently considered as the phenomenon par excellence capable of training millions of people in the world. It is precisely here where technology appears and, overcoming the barrier of distance, connects me with people from different countries who are also studying sport. I can thus gain access to opinions, articles, news and forums, and all of this helps with my training. If even this is not sufficient, I can also access the websites of institutions, sports clubs, specialised journals, sportspeople, etc. I have the world in the service of my learning at the click of a button. This simple movement of one of my fingers brings me closer to objects, facts, people and to all the information that flows from them. “What is sports management like in China?”, I ask on Skype. “How are the World Cup and the Olympic Games being organised in Brazil?” I send this query out on Facebook and wait for comments from friends resident in that country. In short, the first task required to clear up any doubt is to submerge myself in the internet. Right now, while typing on my PC, I am watching live on line a competition in which a compatriot of mine is participating, and simultaneously I can read the technical assessments of their performance. Yes, all at the same time. I am revising a subject, and receiving information from others. It is all very fast. However, I must make sure that I do not lose my way in the vast source of information offered by technology. It can be the most powerful ally but also the fiercest distraction. With the information at my fingertips, the next learning step is to form an opinion, to adopt a position on what I have read, and I must not lose sight of this objective.
The Internet is a valuable tool which complements my training, and will be efficient in so far as there is a balance between the time that I invest in it and the time that I freely grant to the virtual world when I use it for entertainment.
In a few months I will have to take a flight back to Peru and the first thing that I will put in my rucksack, like when I came here, will be my laptop. Any academic objective in mind will be much easier to achieve if I continue my close relationship with technology and the universe of data to which it connect me every day.
Talent Scholarship-holder, Master in Sports Management and Direction 2013, Barcelona School of Management