On Friday 4th December, Swans Secondary School went Tech-Free! There was plenty of trepidation leading up to the day itself, with students and staff wondering just how we were going to manage without the devices that have become so integral to our school days. No Google Classroom? No Internet to service all our research needs? No email? Teachers found themselves digging out the felt-tip pens, in preparation for a day of getting back to basics.
What none of us were quite prepared for was what a big success the day was! Students and staff found themselves enjoying a myriad of more physical activities - reading, mind mapping, poster creation, handwriting, model making, poetry and, of course, good old fashioned discussion.
Our moments of spare time were also enriched. The Sixth Form held a breaktime chess tournament and the common room was buzzing with real life conversation. The staff room hosted teachers finally reading those research articles in magazines they hadn’t had time to look through, or even testing out new ideas for the Christmas Craft Club.
Here is what the students had to say:
“I think Tech Free Friday helped students (and teachers) to realise that we do not always have to rely on technology. That we can calmly exist without electronic distractions.”
“Classes were also more discussion based which was enjoyable, and a lot more engaging.”
“It revealed how reliant or non-reliant on technology we each are individually. It also provided increased social opportunities, as during the wet break we interacted with each other rather than spending our time on our devices.”
We are glad to have our devices back, but we are also glad we had the opportunity to reflect on everything they have brought to our lives - good and bad. We’ve gained perspective.
And maybe we have realised that sometimes getting disconnected can actually make us more connected.
Switch Off Sunday
Sunday 13th December: As a sequel event to the very successful “Tech-Free Friday”, Swans Primary School is now leading “Switch Off Sunday”. Whilst this is predominantly a Primary School initiative, we invite our whole community to join in with some festive family time, away from screens and technology.
Swans School Digital Citizenship Campaign
This initiative continues to run with more awareness activities planned throughout the academic year.
As recommended by Mr Rob in the previous Headteacher’s Newsletter, we encourage all families to watch the Social Dilemma on Netflix. It provides some interesting insights into the world of social networking. We also recommend that students switch off devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime, to help with a restful night’s sleep.
Possibly most importantly, we look to consistently remind our whole community that it is always important to be kind. Our “Do not feed the trolls” displays and posters will remain present around both Primary and Secondary Schools. Sending, posting, or sharing false or nasty content can have even more damaging consequences online than it does in person.