Data Use, Technology, and Educational Leadership
I’ve been thinking a lot about digital distraction lately. Adults have all sorts of stories about the subtle ways in which life is weirdly different with current ubiquity of digital devices. Sitting alone in a restaurant or bathroom stall didn’t used to feel weird without a phone in hand, especially since it’s questionable how much online communication is really about learning/dialogue vs. just validation-seeking. (BTW, here’s my wife’s latest observation: It’s harder nowadays for enormous pregnant ladies to get a seat on subway trains. Those few that aren’t already looking down at their phones seem to find them quick.)
1:1 schooling is hot right now. As this post suggests, though, there are increasing concerns that youngsters could benefit from strategies for managing digital distraction, especially since their brains are still being wired. Things like focus/attention are things that can actually be trained. The post suggests that kids who follow a mindfulness curriculum will be better able to manage their emotions, focus at school, and maybe even set aside the nagging desire to flip to a social media site or video game. I’d add that it might even mean being better at friendships and paying attention to each other as people. As an aside: I’m still a little unnerved when I see two people “out on a date” staring at their phones instead. Back on track: David M. Levy at the University of Washington has a neat string of research and commentary on the value of mindfulness meditation at work (multitasking, stress management, etc.).
Apparently, mindfulness curriculum is a real thing that schools could adopt tomorrow if they wanted to. Meditation is just a different way to tune and strengthen our attention– but would those wacky people who sue because their kids are learning yoga in school also sue because their kids are sitting quietly? I wonder. Here’s something for your Netflix viewing online: meditation in an Alabama prison. I’ll try not to spoil the ending.
I’m especially curious what schools are actually trying this sort of thing already, and what kinds of results they think they’re seeing. I muse about the day when before being allowed a 1:1 computing in the classroom goes along with training on one’s posture, how to pay attention to one’s breath, and a reminder to actually chew/taste one’s food.