Screen Time Overload (for adults)

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The last three weeks have been an exciting ride – working together with my close friend and colleague to set up, refine and then launch Educated by Nature into the world. We have spent our time developing our website, thinking about marketing, updating and managing our Facebook, Twitter and Youtube accounts, developing booking systems and logos and discussing the intricacies of wording for each element of our new and upcoming programs. It has been very interesting to reflect on the past few weeks and realise that, even though our name is Educated by Nature, the majority of our time kick starting this business has been spent indoors!

Yes we have had times when we have gone location scouting, and walked through bush lands, parks and beach locations. We have been outside to take photos of objects in nature to use as inspiration for the colour palette and branding on our website and even sat outside with laptops to soak up the benefits of the fresh air and sunshine while working, but the majority of our time has been spent indoors, sitting on a chair at a desk, in front of a screen typing or clicking.

This experience has reminded me (very clearly) that I am a kinesthetic learner. I need to move to keep my brain functioning. I need to be active to keep myself awake and I need to spend time outdoors to be happy! This realisation (or reminder) made me excited about the year to come. A large proportion of my week is going to be spent outdoors, involved in activities that involve nature. My other realisation although was not as positive – it made me think about the crazy notion that we ask children, often from a very young age, to sit in a chair, in a room, often using some sort of electronic device as a part of their learning for a large part of their day, five days a week, 40 weeks a year! Sitting at my desk, I got fidgety, I lost concentration and I became less and less productive. It made me appreciate the opportunities that I have had as a teacher to be able to alter my learning environment for my students. To be able to use the outdoors and afford the children in my class the opportunity to be involved in hands on, active, authentic projects. Projects requiring a range of applications, skills, movement and processes that accompanied the chair and table based work. It made me excited about the opportunities we are planning to provide for children (and their parents) to Get Outside! It made me realise most of all though, that as adults we also need to take notice of our need to recharge in nature, to move and communicate, to socialise and be outside, but mostly take notice of our need to reduce our own screen time.

Too often, especially as parents and educators, we are involved in discussion about ways to reduce the screen time of children, and ironically a large proportion of the time, this discussion happens on screens (even now, this blog post is being typed up on a laptop…). We need to find ways that we can work to reduce the screen time for ourselves, limit the time we use digital technology, and especially work to eliminate the unnecessary use of screens – those ‘time filler’ activities we all partake in.

I am excited to take steps in 2015 to reduce my connection with the artificial world, and spend more time connecting with the natural world. I am also excited to be supporting families and friends to do the same.

How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play

Letting kids move in class isn’t a break from learning. It IS learning.