“I want to break free”
Having just completed the Long Exeat aka the first half term, many of us were buoyed by the freedoms that were granted to travel, as we’ve been “under pressure” of the continued lockdown! For many parents & staff that had received their second vaccine this meant one thing… “break free!” For many children it gave them the valuable opportunity to reconnect with friends they had only seen on the screen in recent weeks, many saying “don’t stop me now”. The chance to disconnect from their devices that inevitably had been leading to “one vision”!
The first 6 weeks of the 2021-22 academic year started online for the majority of the school and the move to stage 2 and subsequently state 3 of Malaysia’s national recovery plan, provided the perfect opportunity to “spread your wings”. Travel with Johor became an option again, including the chance to visit the near by islands in the South China Sea or hopping on a plane to visit the tourist bubble of Langkawi. The one thing we all needed was a digital detox and some valuable time away from the screen, it was “A kind of magic”.
It may sound slightly ironic that the Director of Digital Learning is advocating for time away from the screen, however a substantial part of the last 2 years has been spent keeping abreast of research and methodologies which assist in establishing a state of digital equilibrium, digital balance or digital wellness. It has been challenge for many, however, as many would agree that there has been nothing better than spending time with family, walking the dog, playing golf, scuba diving or taking time to explore the local and not so local areas, whether that be in “A bicycle race” or otherwise.
“It’s a hard life”
Having recently attended a webinar by Dr Kristy Goodwin, about digital exhaustion, brain based digital solutions and digital wellbeing strategies, I was delighted to learn that we had adopted a number of the strategies at MCM, many of which have been published in research by Microsoft in the last 12 months. I was particularly drawn to two terms, that were introduced to my digital vernacular “digital guardrails” and “tech-spectations”, both of which wrapped around creating predictability and consistency whilst interacting online. Whilst the increasing array of digital vocabulary is as frequent as Google updates, or SOP’s, I am certain that we will continue to establish our new normal in light of ongoing reflection of our current practises and future needs. Whilst I won’t be taking a deep dive in to tech terms during this somewhat light hearted blog post, I am delighted that the team of digital ambassadors continue to embed a culture of digital wellness across the college, which is wrapped around the growing volume of research that has evolved throughout Covid.
“These are the days of our lives”
As written in many of the well-being blog posts in the last 2 years, humour, music and nature have become pivotal parts in our overall well-being. Despite being “Under Pressure” our digital ambassadors continue to lead the way with their work surrounding digital wellness. It was a pleasure to support them in producing their first webinar last month which highlighted the work they have been doing across the college on the CLEAR initiative. The initiative stemmed from the digital wellness institute, with the Digital ambassadors producing a recording for all year groups assemblies, which emphasised the benefits of creating a healthy digital workspace environment (CLICK HERE). The Pupils feedback and response was overwhelming and highlighted the power of student voice and efficacy.
(source – Digital Wellness Institute – https://www.digitalwellnessinstitute.com)
“A night at the opera”
This week we have also launched an initiative to staff and pupils, focussing on Digital wellness strategies suggested by Dr Kristy Goodwin. Her article was published recently and focussed on taking “frequent and good breaks”. Whilst we have used some of the strategies previously, we have re-packaged these, for staff and pupils to incorporate in their daily routine. Ironically, I read this week that Singapore PM Lee Hsein Loong spent a “night at the opera” watching Bizet’s Carmen recently. You may recall that we researched and provided guidance on the topic of digital wellness in March 2021 (link to webinar – HERE) and following our most recent webinar we have updated our advice to staff and children, which follows the acronym CARMEN. For more details on digital strategies and digital disconnection, I would highly recommend following Dr Goodwin on social media via LinkedIn and through her website (https://drkristygoodwin.com/). Her recent blog post “Simple solutions to stopping digital fatigue is short and well researched article – https://drkristygoodwin.com/simple-solutions-to-stop-digital-fatigue/
|Connect with family, pets or nature|
|Have easy access to resources you need and plan to mix analogue, e.g pen and paper.|
|No checking Social Media, inbox or news sites, whilst on a digital break|
|At least every 20 minutes. Employ 20/20/20/20 looking 20m into the distance for 20 seconds and blink 20 times.|
|To natural light, preferably sunlight|
|Spend a minute outside to help lower Cortisol Levels|
I hope you have enjoyed this brief and light-hearted update on the digital wellness focus areas this term and the advice on reducing digital fatigue. I also hope that the music lovers think we have been “Doing all right” with the song titles! I am sure that all of us are looking forward to being back in school for face to face learning and in the meantime “The show must go on”!