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Equity for Inclusion

25 Jun

It is so hard to believe that I am writing about our 5th and final debate! This last debate topic focused on the question of whether technology is a force for equity in society.

Team agree made up of Jen, Dawn, and Sapna started off with a strong opening statement. They argued points about the barriers technology breaks down, the connection it helps create, and also brought up a great point of viewing the the term digital divide as digital inclusion.

Team disagree made up of Amy S. and Rakan, also had an informative opening statement, which brought up things I had never even considered or knew about. The stats regarding racism and sexism online were alarming, as well as the facial recognition and AI biases and issues that exist towards marginalized groups.

I stayed solid in my opinion before, during, and after the debate that I agree that technology is a force for equity in society. One of the major points that came up a lot in our group discussion was the number of technology resources and access various schools have. In many schools/divisions, this is not nearly enough, and sometimes schools are even capped on how much technology they can have regardless of the socio-economic status of their community in an attempt to even things out. As I was thinking about this, the quote/idea “what’s fair isn’t always equal” came to my mind. We need to do a better job in providing technology access and resources to those in the most need.


Image found HERE.

I don’t really think it’s about having the best or latest chromebook, computer or iPad, but more so the access to information, skills to be good digital citizens and media literate individuals, and of course connection to the greater world around them that technology can cultivate. Schools need to make sure that they can provide enough technology, including wifi access and bandwidth, that students AND teachers, have an opportunity to practice digital citizenship into their classrooms, and begin learning skills they will use at home or work one day. Again, I don’t feel this needs to be 1:1 devices, and teachers once again play a huge role in knowing what and how much their students, families, and community have in terms of technology resources and access.

I also feel that mobile smart phones are going to be the reality for many students and families for how they are accessing information for and from schools. Some of the argument of the disagree group centered around cost, and the fact that lower income students, families, and schools struggle to receive all the technology benefits, as they simply do not have the resources, but I think mobile phones are a way to gain more access. The agree group shared stats from this TechCrunch report, which highlights these number of smartphone owners with an average income of $15,000 or less.

-Aged 18-24 = 56%

-Aged 25-34 = 43%

-Aged 35-44 = 31%

Although there are no stats for high school students, I would guesstimate in my school about 80% of students in my classes have a smartphone. Many of them are just a device, and do not have a data plan, but they are able to access the internet with wifi.

This article does a great job of addressing many issues created by the digital divide, and provides some suggestions to help teachers navigate equity in this area. Doing your research, and knowing what access your students and families have is vital, planning thoughtful lessons that use technology (based on what you already found out), putting extra efforts into teaching digital literacy, providing extra opportunities to access, and as we always do, advocating for more resources in our buildings.

If we take every opportunity we have to provide our students exposure and interactions with whatever technology resources we have, and bring the focus back to digital citizenship and media literacy, I believe we will foster both equity and inclusion for our students.


Embracing childhood today

17 Jun

This week’s EC&I 830 debate topic focused on whether or not social media is ruining childhood. I haven’t been this solid on my opinion in a debate since the first week’s debate when I fully agreed that technology enhances learning.  I was super excited for this debate, as I wholeheartedly disagree. From Twitter conversations ahead of class, I knew I would be in the minority, and I was eager to participate on team disagree’s side and hopefully sway some opinions.


Team agree made up of Melinda, Alyssa, and Lori started the debate off with their opening statement. Decline in mental health, acceptance from peers, cyber bullying and other unhealthy behavior were all points team agree brought up. These are all valid issues that we know are plaguing children and teens today.

Team disagree made up of Erin, Brooke, and Daniel, highlighted major positive aspects of social media in children’s lives which included strengthening relationships, providing support for those who may be struggling or marginalized, encouraging learning, and giving students an opportunity to make a positive impact on the world in their opening statement.

I understand the concern teachers, parents, and society in general has when it comes to social media, technology in general and our children’s mental health. Although social media and smart phones are still relatively new in terms of technology, research is being done on increased mental health issues as well as increased screen time. I often wonder if these are related because of causation or correlation, and if the increasing diagnoses of depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other mental health disorders may be due to advancement and knowledge in these areas. As a high school teacher, I see the state of mental health in our teens and schools which alarms me, but I also see amazing action taking place with Bell Let’s Talk, local organization The UnderstandUs, and a general increase in understanding and acceptance. As I see taking care of your mental health becoming a focus in schools through courses and things like Wellness days, I also see an ever-increasing need for a focus on digital health.

Last semester in EC&I 832, I dedicated my major project to learning more about digital health and wellness. What started from a viewpoint similar to team agree’s on all the ways social media (and technology) is harming kids, quickly changed into a more positive outlook as I began reading and learning more about ways it can benefit and can be used for so much good. On a large scale, it’s amazing to see how social media has inspired, and driven movements such as March For Our Lives, but it’s important not to forget on a smaller scale how powerful it can be for isolated or struggling kids to reach out and find a connection somewhere. To know there is someone or a group of people out there who are just like you, can bring hope to someone who has never felt like they fit in.

“When I think of technology, I don’t just see it as a tool. I see it as a way for kids to be seen. For kids to be found. For kids to not be alone. And for adults too. Someone out there values us. Someone out there, who wonders whether they have worth, is waiting for all of us. Technology means we don’t have to be alone anymore.” –Ripp, 2018

All this good, doesn’t mean that bad isn’t happening at the same time. Cyber bullying is real, and prominent in the lives of many. It is harmful and hurtful in many ways, and the anonymity and viral-ness of it is what makes it so challenging. But bullying has always been real, and has always been hurtful, and regardless of what form, it is always going to occur in some manner. Taking social media away from bullies is not going to make them less of a bully. Just as taking phones away from kids is not going to make them less invested in the online world they live in. Rather than focusing on the negatives of social media, or the bullies, I truly believe we need to focus on building our students to be upstanders, and overall outstanding digital citizens.

Rather than just waiting for digital citizenship education and curriculum changes to occur….


Image found HERE

We need to be proactive as teachers in bringing digital citizenship topics such as digital etiquette and digital health into our classrooms, and have these conversations with our students about social media and technology use. These conversations do not always need to be formal or part of the days lesson plan. When a student asks me to take a phone call during class from their work and I say yes, I use this opportunity to address it with the rest of the class as to why that is okay, and actually a responsible thing to do. We also talk about when might not be okay during class time, and how you can bridge that conversation with your boss when you call back on your break.

Although a small example, this is an important part of how we as teachers can begin to change the culture in schools which is seemingly shifting to banning phones, and hoping parents will teach their kids how to navigate the online world. While some schools are reporting benefits of banning phones, I think by doing this we are missing the boat huge on preparing students to be active participants and citizens in society, as so much of today’s information, communication, and connecting is now done online. As Nathan Jurgenson writes about the IRL fetish, we no longer really have a separate identity, or life, the digital world is the real world. To be our true genuine selves, both online and off, in every interaction, is exactly what we need to be teaching students.

“We may never fully log off, but this in no way implies the loss of the face-to-face, the slow, the analog, the deep introspection, the long walks, or the subtle appreciation of life sans screen. We enjoy all of this more than ever before” – Jurgenson

It is clear our world has changed with the advent of social media. My childhood was vastly different than my parent’s – the time I spent on MSN messenger and playing Mario Party was so strange to them. My adulthood is also vastly different. Although my mom embraces Facebook, my dad and I quote, thinks “Book-Face is the devil”. My student’s childhood is also completely different, and I am trying to prepare them for an adulthood that will be ever-changing as the workforce and society continues to become more connected and social. The only way childhood is being ruined is if we are resistant to letting kids be kids. We must foster and help grow a sense of imagination, the importance of play time, healthy risk-taking, and connection with peers. I believe all of these aspects can be grown both online and offline, and they must be – in order to raise strong, resilient, creative, and inspiring leaders to come in our world today.




To share or not to share… ‘please tell me how’ is the question

15 Jun

Last week’s debate posed the question “Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids.” Now, I’m not going to lie, the way in which the question was worded had me confused on where I stood (I think it’s fair… so I actually then disagree with the statement right?!), and my own confusion of where I stood continued to grow as we heard compelling arguments from classmates on both sides of the debate.


The agree team of Amy, Dani, and Joe presented a super creative opening statement, outlining some problems and concerns when it comes to how much we share online whether as ourselves, parents, or teachers. Some of the stats shared in regards to dangers online truly made my shiver.

The disagree team of Kari, Esther, and Shelly, also prepared a compelling opening statement in which they highlighted many positives of sharing such as promoting connectivity between parents, teachers and students, and helping students to begin building a positive digital footprint.

Before the debate, and after, my opinion still stands that I disagree with the statement. I think as schools we need to promote and support more openness and sharing. Whether it is open source software or material, sharing resources between teachers, our students amazing work, with the community on Instagram or Twitter, or with families through apps such as Seesaw, there are so many possibilities for both teachers and students to grow.

As a high school teacher, I have no experience using Seesaw, but I know many classmates use it in their elementary school classrooms, and I have friends and colleagues who use it because their own child’s teacher uses it and I have heard nothing but great things about its power to connect and build digital citizenship skills with young learners. I think the openness and sharing an app like Seesaw creates is so beneficial to teachers, students, and parents, and opens the door to beginning to build a positive digital footprint at a young age in a safe, protected way. (If you want to learn more about Seesaw, check out my classmate Channing’s project from a few classes back in which she explored and detailed her experiences using Seesaw!)

What I struggle with (and it seemed like I am not the only one from our class discussion), is the policies or lack of, in place in regards to sharing and privacy, as well as the vast difference in expectations around sharing from school to school between divisions or districts. I know this is new territory we are often forging ahead in, and I am 100% behind the “it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission” saying in a lot of cases, but when it comes to something as serious as our students’ privacy and digital identities… is this okay?

We discussed how many of our policies are reactive vs. proactive as we just do not know what potential issues are until it’s too late sometimes. But even harmless mistakes in sharing, can lead to big consequences. I know in talking with other teachers, there has been some mixed messaging sent in terms of what information we can put into google docs because it has the potential of one wrong share click sending out private data, and also what we share on school and personal social media feeds. The ambiguity can be frustrating, and I also feel creates fear in teachers that leads them further from sharing. There have been times I haven’t shared what I think are great things in fear of it being against a policy.

I have been trying to overcome this fear, and share more about what I am doing in my classroom and school on my Twitter account and my school’s Instagram & Twitter, because I honestly think my students and school are AMAZING, and I believe in the power of social media to build positive movements towards change in society. My school’s social media presence isn’t widest spread, especially in comparison to other schools in Regina, but it is growing slowly! I like to think of it as building our own digital footprint as a school! With a little more clarity in terms of policies going forward, I believe a continued push for openness and sharing in schools is only going to continue to grow and benefit students, teachers, and education as a whole.


Thinking (and googling) critically

4 Jun

To be honest… I procrastinated this blog post. A lot.


Every time I sat down to write it, I was completely stuck where to go.  Our second class debate of whether schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled, had me doubting my opinion. My pre-debate vote was that I disagreed, but after watching the opening statements of the agree group Nicole, Channing & Jodie, I found myself totally agreeing with every statement they said! Then, Catherine, Amanda, and Shelby, came back with their opening statement, and I again, found myself agreeing with everything they said. How was this happening?!


Both groups presented valid arguments to start, and the counter arguments and discussion to follow with our class had me still flip flopping, and to be honest confused at times who was on which side. There were so many similar points — students need to think critically, be able to navigate a fake news world, and learn in new and exciting ways, which we as teachers, need to create beyond our traditional four classroom walls.

One of the points the disagree group brought up that I agree with, is that memorization can be an important part of building higher thinking skills for kids. Now I’m not talking about the “memorizing” I did studying last minute (procrastination…it’s never changed) for my University exams, which only stayed briefly in my brain, but the repetitions required for spelling, writing, basic math, and even physical activity. With a last name like Rosenkranz, I probably practiced spelling my last name hundreds of times before I could remember it. My mom eventually made up a song to help me learn…and I was finally about to remember it. How did you learn to tie your shoes? Catch a ball? Times tables? Most likely through a lot of repetition, which ultimately committed this to memory. Now I am not naiive that many learners struggle with memorization, but with proper supports and adaptations, students can still practice recall skills.

Even in our ever-changing world of technology, repetition will continue to be an important part of building skills to a mastery level in any subject area. I’ve said this before, but when we think about building our students digital citizenship abilities, they need the opportunity to practice these skills, we can’t just assume they will get this knowledge at home, and when it comes to this debate, we can’t just assume our students will get this knowledge from google. The need for digital citizenship to be taught in schools tells me this. Our students will always need the opportunity to practice, explore, and navigate in a safe, guided space regardless of what the content is.

Questioning the content that we teach and the existence of curriculum at all, was also brought up last week. I keep thinking about this, and how I really do feel a need for changes in our archaic education system, but I don’t think eliminating curriculum is what is needed. If we truly want students to be able to think critically, as both groups suggested, we need content for them to think critically about. One of the articles the disagree group shared, talked about critical thinking and how to using technology to support it. Some of the skills it talks about that critical thinkers are able to do are:

  • Communication
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Problem-solving
  • Evaluation
  • Reflection

Without content… how can one do any of these things? Yes students can find their own content that interests them through google, but students are not trained to set up learning activities in which they could analyze content, vs. choose content more suited to synthesize. This is why teachers exist! Like I talked about in my last blog post about why technology enhances learning, teachers play a vital role, and cannot and should not be replaced with technology. As teachers, we can do a better job to choose more interesting, new, and relevant content, and perhaps many of our old curriculums could be updated (is Shakespeare really necessary still?), and that is truly the beauty of google – we have so much more access to resources beyond an old tattered textbook.

We need to be there to help guide our students through the learning journey they are on, and prepare them to continue this journey on their own for the rest of their lives. Yes, that means we need to teach differently then we were taught, and we need to use the plethora of information available to us and our students. But I truly believe our students are not ready to dive into this vast sea of information alone. We need to set up learning opportunities, and build skills that prepare students to not only choose their own content – but to be digitally saavy, media literate, critical thinkers of the 21st century.

Pro Tech

26 May

Each week in EC&I 830 with Dr. Alec Couros, we are taking on a debate topic regarding contemporary issues with educational technology. Myself and my rockstar partners Jana and Kristen were the lucky group to take on the first week’s topic of whether technology in the classroom enhances learning, and our stance was AGREE!


Agreeing that technology does enhance learning is consistent with my long-time personal opinion, so I was super happy to take on this side of the argument. As a “pro-tech” person, it is easy to say that I agree with this, but to actually convince others and hopefully win (I am very competitive), I felt pressure to put together a solid argument, and understand the big picture of what it means to actually effectively use technology to enhance learning. I truly enjoyed the challenge of researching and developing our opening debate statement, as well as actual in class debate and counter arguments that followed. Kyla, Wendy, and Amy who took on the disagree stance of the debate, did an absolutely amazing job supporting the ways in which technology can be a detriment to learning, and their research and arguments were extremely valid.

When thinking about whether technology enhances learning, I think the most important thing to consider is the role of the teacher. The research and opinions on the disagree side of things often say that technology is being haphazardly thrown into lessons or used ineffectively to do tasks in which it is not actually needed. Technology is a tool, not a replacement for a teacher. Setting up appropriate learning activities and providing guidance, structure and opportunities to use technology to bring learning to a whole new level is a huge part of what teachers do in their classrooms. The SAMR model, is a great way for teachers to consider how they are using technology and to what level it is actually effecting the learning for students.


Image found HERE.

Teaching in a Digital Age: How Educators Use Technology to Improve Student Learning by Katherine McKnight, Kimberly O’Malley, Roxanne Ruzic, Maria Kelly Horsley, John J. Franey & Katherine Bassett was the main research article my group gravitated to as they so perfectly describe the ways in which technology not only enhances learning, but increases student engagement. The article describes in detail how technology:

  1. Improves access
  2. Enhances communication and feedback
  3. Extends purpose and audience for student work
  4. Shifts teacher and student roles
  5. Restructures teacher time

These 5 roles technology plays undoubtedly transforms the ways in which teachers and students are interacting, communicating and learning together.  So many barriers are broken down when traditional roles of not only the student and teacher shift, but also when the ‘textbook’, materials, output and assessment are vastly improved.

Preparing students for their future education and careers in the 21st century should also be at the forefront of education, and as we’ve read about Future Work Skills 2020, students need skills like cognitive load management and virtual collaboration, in order to engage in diverse spaces and media they will encounter. One of the arguments of the disagree side was that multi-tasking is detrimental to student learning, and that technology can be quite the distraction for students. Thinking back to my learning and experience in EC&I 832 and a blog post I wrote, schools need to be providing students opportunity to learn digital etiquette, manage distractions, and ultimately  become better digital citizens. If schools do not play this role and provide students a chance to master these skills, how will they ever succeed in the technology driven world around them?

Not only does technology enhance learning in a classroom setting, but technology IS the way students communicate, share, and spend their time. If students are using technology to live so many moments of their lives, we should be seeking to use it to enhance as many moments of their learning as we can.



The journey is more important than the destination

17 Apr

As I wrap up this semester, and my major project for EC&I 832, the quote “the journey is more important than the destination” comes to mind.

The journey is more important than the destination because there is so much more in between.

via Flickr

When starting this project, I remember emailing Alec (sorry!!) multiple times to clarify if I was “on the right track.” I was so concerned with what my final “product” would be. He told me to focus less on that, but rather the process of it, and of course, he was right!

I started off with a more jaded view of Digital Health & Wellness. Technology addiction, narcissism, distraction, depression, anxiety, the need for instant gratification… how are students ever going to navigate the digital world with all these ever increasing issues and problems working against them? The more the semester went on though, and the more I began to reflect on my own social media use, the more I started to think about all the power for good it has, and how that outweighs the negatives — if we’re taking the time to educate and teach proper use, etiquette and digital health in schools. (Plus the other elements of Digital Citizenship from Ribble!) Two terrible tradegys which have occured recently with a school shooting in Florida and the Humboldt broncos bus crash, have further solidified my faith in humanity and the positive power of social media. #marchforourlives and #humboldtstrong continue to amaze and inspire me everyday. This mindset change has been an important part of my journey, and continues to impact how I talk to students, colleagues, friends and family about positive, and ultimately healthy social media use each day.

As I spoke about in my Summary of Learning for the class, so much of what I did this semester, was viewed through a Digital Health and Wellness lens. Everything I was reading, tweeting, and thinking about came back to digital health. My own personal use of technology and social media has been affected, as I have learned so much along the way of how I can better balance and manage my time online. Check out a few of my favorite reads on that here, here, and here. All of these offer great ideas, and tips to better take charge of your digital health.

Some of the biggest ways I’d like to share that my learning has impacted my own digital health are:

  1. Turning off push notifications for Facebook and Instagram. Not having my phone light up with memes I’m getting tagged in (I seriously love memes, please keep tagging me in all dog memes), or comments or likes, really helps me feel less inclined to always be checking my phone and seeing if there is anything new. When I have time and choose to open Facebook or Instagram, I am either surprised, or not affected at all by any notifications. I so far have kept Twitter push notifications on, but I am getting close to turning them off. I get way too many “in case you missed so and so’s tweet, or have you seen..” and this is not at all what I want pushed to my phone. Unless I figure out how to turn off these specific random notifications that I don’t care about, push notifications for Twitter will also go off. I am not popular enough to turn off push notifications for Snapchat. If I get one Snapchat every week it is pretty exciting, so I’ll keep that excitement notification for now.
  2. No (or less) phone before bed. Yes, I use my phone as an alarm and charge it in my room… despite all the suggestions. I have made a conscious effort to read a book before bed. Not having screen time right before bed is something I am working really hard on. I find myself relentlessly scrolling for hours in bed, especially if I can’t fall asleep. I found myself doing a lot of tweeting at this time, but have tried to set some time aside to scroll Twitter earlier in the day when I am more alert and energized. There is too much good stuff on there! By reading an actual, paper book, I find I can get to sleep faster, and I also don’t waste hours of precious sleep time because I am creeping on 2 years worth of someone’s Instagram pics. I also love reading for enjoyment – rather than just scholarly articles, so this has been a great activity for me.
  3. Being more genuine and purposeful with my interactions. These come from the second article I mentioned above – seriously read it. I am trying to be very aware with what exactly I am doing online at a particular time – and if it is just mindlessly scrolling, there needs to be a max time I’m willing to spend on that. I also want to be the same person I am on social media as I am in “real life”. Yes I look best in photos of my good side with the Valencia filter, but what I am sharing should enhance my experience and my connection with others, not take away from it. I want to be the same caring friend out for coffee as I want to be commenting “Congratulations” on your exciting Facebook post. Being less caught up in showing my “perfect” life vs. my actual life has been a tricky mindset change, but one that is important.
  4. Being aware of my time online. Checking the battery usage setting on my iPhone that I shared with my students in my presentation, is a game changer. Why yes, I have spent way too much time on Instagram today.

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5. Listening to myself. If social media is making me feel negatively about myself because all I see is friends posting engagement pics (#foreveralone), or the Kardashians baby drama infiltrates every inch of what I’m seeing, or Trump’s just being Trump, then I may need to take a break. It doesn’t always need to be as drastic as completely denting the apps for a long time period, but it’s okay to go have a bath and leave your phone downstairs. Or to ask your friends to text you because you won’t be checking the Facebook group chat for a while. Self-care is huge, and I need to take care of myself digitally sometimes.

For quick reference, here are a list of the blogs and some of the learning I explored this semester regarding digital health & wellness.

My first post outlining how I thought my project would go.

Reflecting on my own social media use – not quitting for the wrong reasons, but staying for the right ones.

When my mindset began to shift to a more positive outlook on digital health, and how we need to help kids achieve a healthy digital life through use in school.

My process for creating my Digital Health & Wellness survey

My survey results summarized

A reflection on my Wellness Day presentation for grade 10 students on Digital Health

I have genuinely learned so much this semester through our course content and my own journey through my project. Thanks for a great semester Alec and EC&I 832 classmates! I look forward to EC&I 830 starting up in a few weeks!




“I wish everyday was Wellness Day”

17 Apr

On March 28, 2018, F.W. Johnson Collegiate hosted their annual Wellness Day. Wellness Day is put on for all grade 10 students, and brings together various speakers, organizations, and agencies surrounding positive wellness. Students have a choice of different sessions to attend throughout their morning, culminating in a final keynote speaker for the entire group to end the day.

Pet therapy, art therapy, Planned Parenthood, The Schizophrenia Society, the SGI Safety Squad, Cyberbullying, nutrition, fitness, body image, Canadian Mental Health Association, plus more were some of the options for sessions and presenters our students could choose from. This year, I asked the organizing committee – the Bachelor of Science in Nursing 4th year practicum students and a teacher in our building, if I could present on Digital Wellness. As I am not currently teaching Wellness 10 right now, I thought this would be a great way to share with students what I have learned this semester in EC&I 832 and for my major project.

I ended up with two sessions of about 20 students each which I thought was fantastic! I wasn’t sure if students would sign up for it, or be drawn by some of the other “cooler”  sessions.

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When I was planning my presentation, I knew I wanted to make room for a lot of discussion with students and for their input, and I also wanted to focus on how we can positively improve our digital health, rather than just talk about all the ways technology and social media is harming young people much like them today. I am sure they hear it enough from parents – and from other teachers – how they are too addicted to their phones and can’t function without them.

I am not going to share my entire slideshow I used to guide my presentation, as I left a lot of the slides blank with just a question I posed, and then we discussed. Students were very engaged and willing to answer my questions as well as chat together. We started off by talking about how technology had changed over the years – much like Alec did in our first EC&I 832 class. I had them guess what technology was being talked about in a negative manner – they had no clue what a “walk-man” was!

We then got into the social media they use, and why it is great, because it really is great in a lot of ways! Snapchat and Instagram were the most used – apparently Facebook is “old news” and Twitter is only for old people. Snapchat and Instagram gave them a way to connect with friends, and share what they are doing.

We also discussed potential problems they saw with this technology. Cyberbullying, body image issues, addiction, distracted in school, all came up as issues. We also talked about what physical and psychological effects technology and social media can have. Negatively affecting sleep, feeling depressed, feeling anxious, being obsessed with the perfect filter, always comparing yourself to others, and eye problems were all effects they identified easily.

I tried to make the presentation as fun as possible – and brought it back to myself as much as I could.  I thought it was important for them to realize social media and technology addiction isn’t just a teenager thing, and that the more adults open up and discuss, can help students do the same. These are a few of the slides I used to talk about issues like “self-itis” and no mobile phone phobia or nomophobia.

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Yes… those are OG selfies of me on the right…

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Thanks to my classmate Amy for sharing about nomophobia and her project, which inspired me to incorporate it in mine! Students did a nomophobia questionnaire from a study, to also see where they stacked up in terms of being without their phone. This generated a lot of great discussion about how we feel when we don’t have our phones.

Body image issues, FOMO (fear of missing out) and distraction were also topics I touched on. I also had students reflect on their own social media use, using this activity from Common Sense Media. In this, I also shared my own reflection of my social media use.

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The last bit of my presentation (I was feeling rushed — to much to talk about!!), focused on ways we can combat issues with technology and social media negatively affecting us or becoming addicted.  One of the first things is to think about how much time we are spending on our phone – and what exactly that time is spent doing. On iPhones there is a setting you can check to see how much of your battery is going to what. This was a new learning for many students (and myself!). We spent some time checking and being amazed how many hours they were spending on apps. Hours and hours on Snapchat, seriously.

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Choosing who to follow, or unfollowing for that matter, turning off push notifications, restricting times on phone (not at meal times, driving, etc), being genuine and making connections with those around you were all things we discussed. Many of them had friends on Snapchat or Instagram that they liked things of, but didn’t actually ever talk to them at school if they were to see them.

Taking a break, deleting apps for a time period or moving apps off your home screen were more ideas. Sleeping also was a hot topic – reading before bed, charging your phone in a different room, and no screen time an hour before bed were also ideas students thought of.

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I wanted to give students a chance to do my survey, but unfortunately, we just ran out of time!! (In both sessions). We ended talking about a small goal we could set for ourselves to improve our digital health.

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Overall, I am very happy with how things went, and loved sharing what I learned with students and that we were able to engage in genuine discussion regarding this very relevant issue to their overall wellness.