Encouraging Students to Unplug

Lately I have really come to value quiet moments. I’m not sure where it has come from….I want to say it stemmed from my New Years word for the year “mindfulness” but I think I’m getting worn down with constantly being connected.

I never thought I would say those words…ever…but lately, I cringe when my cell phone goes off.

And I know 100% I have done this to myself….so it’s time to undo it.

As I’m thinking about what steps I need to take to do this, I start wondering what this means for our kids. I know there are countless resources/opinions/recommendations for kids and technology. Many of those articles are focused on the home environment and what parents can do to support healthy habits.

So my wondering is…what is the educators role is this? With so many schools going 1:1, are they building in time where kids are off devices? Are students using the technology in meaningful ways?

Mainly…what kind of example are we setting? How can we foster healthy technology habits at school? 

Students might not appreciate it at first, I’m thinking it might even take years for them to, but if we give them something to refer back to, habits, routines, methods….maybe when they realize it’s time to unplug, they will have experiences to draw from.

So how can we encourage our students to appreciate being quiet or unplugging? Off the top of my head, here are some things I’ve come up with:

  • Quiet Free Time, students get a certain amount of time “free” time to create, read, draw, just sit, write…etc….
  • DEAR: Drop Everything And Read
  • Before using technology, think about why you are using it, if your students are old enough, verbalize it to them. What value does the technology have in their project? Does it add to their project in anyway?
  • Encourage students to think critically about the technology they are using, allow them to decide on a tool they want to use, and ask them to explain why that tool best fit their project.
  • Set an example, knowing when to put our own technology.
  • Combine tech projects/discussions with face-to-face discussions.
  • If giving students a choice for how they want to display their learning, give tech and non-tech choices.
  • Challenge students to keep track of their screen time for a week (I believe there are apps that will tell you how much time you’re spending on your phone).
  • Have students track how they spend their time online(Facebook vs homework?)

What are some ways you’re helping your students develop good technology habits? 



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2 responses to “Encouraging Students to Unplug

  1. Balance is so important in all areas of life, but especially for teens as they rapidly develop. Have you heard of the #smilingmind app? I think you will like it and find it valuable for yourself and your students. @7mrsjames (Sydney, Australia)

  2. Jeannette, thank you for sharing! I hadn’t heard of it and just visited their twitter feed, I’m looking forward to giving it a try!

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