The debate question this week focused on the statement, Technology is making our kids unhealthy. When both sides of the debate delved deeper into these important findings and discussions, as usual, I’m left with a lot to think about. At first, I connected with Braun Bytes’ blog post who brought up the importance of his childhood growing up in Mali, West Aftrica. Reading about his unplugged childhood memories and irreplaceable experiences of childhood are invaluable. On the flip side, watching the youtube video, Human Dystopia was a tad bit scary.
The idea of balance for my students has really been a deeper concern of mine since I started my Master’s Degree. I was fortunate enough to start my journey taking the class Health, Outdoor & Physical Education with Nick Forsberg. I really resonated with being outdoors as a child and participating in numerous outdoor activities that I feel, many children don’t have the opportunity to experience. Sometimes its helicopter parenting, their socioeconomic status, types of addictions, lack of interest, and the list goes on. Nevertheless, I really started to appreciate my childhood more and more. I often worry for my students who only talk about playing video games. I try not to negate their interest, but at the same time I make a point of engaging in conversations that focus on encouraging my students to have a balance of activities for them to be involved in. As the helicopter parenting article indicates, the need to over protect their children was valid due to the events surrounding Sept. 11 and two economic crashes in 2000 and 2008, Parents had reason for concern for their child’s safety and futures.
In addition, the 2 articles, (Move Over Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z and 5 Signs You Were Raised by Helicopter Parents), point out how technology and the dynamics of our social world are changing at lightning speed. As difficult as it is to be relevant as an educator and/or to keep up with technology, unplugging remains a consistent necessity.
When the opportunity arises, I like to take my students outside to our playground, for a walk, to a beautiful park not far from the school, go on outdoor field trips, etc. I think the students learn so much when they have the chance to connect with nature, face to face, communicating with their peers and problem solving on their own. A couple of weeks ago we went outside for Land Art. The students enjoyed the activity and I thought it was great!
Ultimately, when planning for this debate, it was difficult to only fight for one side when deep down, the debate topics are purposely never on opposite sides of the binary. The answer always lies somewhere between one side of the binary and the other side.
I have discovered that finding the right balance is a work in progress. Fortunately, there are many helpful articles, studies, and websites that support learning with technology from a more balanced approach.
Balance is not a new concept and has been around for thousands of years. The First Nations people understood the concept of living a balanced lifestyle before colonization.
“In doing this Western cultures rejected the idea of a mind, body, emotions and spirit dialogue, returning to the ancestral voices for healing, looking to plants and animals for understanding and learning and the power of the spirit in healing and wellness. This rejection had the influence of sending traditional practices underground, and in some instances traditional healing practices were eliminated from the cultural vernacular altogether” (McCabe, .2008, p.144).
The Four Directions theory is a “holistic notion of body, mind, heart, and spirit is a time – honoured for First Nations peoples but is somewhat of a novelty in mainstream society.” This quote is so true! Why is Four Directions theory considered “a novelty in mainstream society” in 2016? Perhaps our focus to too much on negative comments and scrutinizing seen daily on social media (like with the incident of the 4 year old falling into the gorilla enclosure) and not enough “holistic approaches” to living our best life!
Perhaps we need a little more of this!