There is a quote by author and educator David Warlick from several years ago that states, “We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” This is more true now than ever in our history. As we have all jumped, or been thrown in, to virtual learning I am highly impressed with the technology skills of even our youngest Bulldogs. Technology that once supplemented and enriched the lessons in our building suddenly has be- come vital to accessing learning and each other.
In addition to the students, I would like to acknowledge the amazing growth in digital lesson planning and delivery on behalf of the entire Bacon staff and to also thank each and every parent out there who has embraced a huge learning curve to partner with school to ensure their child’s participation virtually.
In technology class, we have discussed online safety and digital citizen- ship in all classes, ranging from choosing safe sites and having trusted adults involved at the primary level to awareness of cyberbullying and safe posting rules at the intermediate level. Please continue to check in with your children on a regular basis about their online experiences.
As so much of our school experience this year has relied on screen time, awareness of balance is important. Here are some tips from various sources to seek healthy technology use:
• Take a break from looking at a screen every hour. Too much screen time strains your eyes, making them tired and dry. Follow the 20-20-20 rule to protect your eyes. Every 20 minutes, give your eyes a 20 second break by looking at something 20 feet away from your screen.
• Limit or reduce the amount of screen time before bed to help with a good night’s sleep. “As difficult as it is to get kids to stop watching TV or using their electronic devices before bedtime, there’s a compelling reason to make it happen. The blue light that’s emitted from these screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythm) to a later schedule. This is an especially big problem for teens whose circadian rhythms are already shifting naturally, causing them to feel awake later at night. The end result: sleep- deprived or poorly rested kids who have essentially given themselves a mini case of jet lag.” The Sleep Foundation
• Prioritize family time and activity. “Take “digital recesses” to get plenty of breaks in to motivate your kids to stay active and moving - play in the backyard, get some fresh air, take a short bike ride or get a snack. Many medical studies have been recently published indicating that 40 minutes or more of outdoor play can greatly help reduce the risk of becoming nearsighted (myopic) — where close objects look clear, but distant objects appear blurry.” Sharp Health Screen Time Guidelines
Please do encourage your child to practice keyboarding skills on a regular basis. Just as beginning writers must think about letter formation, begin- ning typists must think about key placement. It is through practice that our skills improve, therefore making the use of technology – keyboard and pencil alike – easier to use as tools for learning.
Most importantly be kind to yourself and others. From the article, Balancing Screen Time during Covid “It’s okay if you feel overwhelmed right now and find yourself not encouraging your child to play as much as you would like. Many parents are struggling to work, teach their children, and keep up with housework. Be easy on yourself and remember every day isn’t going to be perfect. “The key is trying to help your child have balance,” says Dr. Bickham, a health communication researcher with a specific focus on children and media, Harvard Medical School.”
Please continue to reach out with any questions or concerns.