Technology has become a vital component of our everyday lives and changed the classroom environment. With easier access to information and the ability to connect globally, classroom walls now expand well beyond the school’s physical boundaries. However, with instant information and connectivity, this also creates increased distractions and challenges, leading to a greater need to focus on digital citizenship with our students.
When our phone buzzes or we hear a ‘ding’ indicating a message, it is likely that both kids and adults alike reach for their phones to respond. It is rare that we stop to think about our relationship with our technology and the many notifications, interruptions or distractions that technology generates impact our environment and our daily lives. As teachers, we need to be cognizant of the purpose of technology in our classes and ensure we model a balanced approach to technology use inside and outside of the classroom. It is important to have an awareness of when devices are enhancing creativity and learning, and when they are hindering development.
Mindfulness is one way to develop an awareness of ourselves as individuals. We do this by taking time to refocus, breathe and evaluate our current needs. Mindfulness is about bringing awareness to the present moment you are in. It can be practiced informally through sitting quietly and meditating and breathing, or through more formal mindfulness routines that focus on being aware of certain aspects of your body or environment. Mindfulness is becoming more present in classrooms to begin the school day or refocus after a break as a way to reconnect with oneself.
The Benefits of Mindfulness in the Classroom
Mindfulness benefits students in many ways. It allows our bodies and minds a break from screens and devices. As students focus on themselves throughout a routine, they provide their eyes respite from screens, while providing their body with the ability to realign from potentially poor posture and relax tension throughout their muscles.
Students learn techniques to help manage and regulate their emotions, allowing them to feel less stressed and reactive to situations, creating a greater sense of calm within. This allows students to develop coping skills with their emotions. When students have greater self-awareness through mindfulness, they are also more likely to be compassionate towards others. The focus on socio-emotional learning, skills and student wellbeing through mindfulness allows students to develop a greater ability to focus and concentrate during their lessons.
Technology Applications that Support Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to always mean putting away our devices completely. There are many resources available online and in the app store to support introducing mindfulness into your classroom. Here are four that will help you integrate mindfulness into your daily classroom with lessons, breathing and easy-to-use resources right away:
Student Developed Mindfulness Routines
As the school year progresses and students become more accustomed to mindfulness as a practice, there is the opportunity to move beyond the apps to have your students create their own routines and develop ownership over the mindfulness in their classroom. This presents a variety of learning opportunities for the students:
Allowing for student voices to become a part of the mindfulness program increases engagement and participation. Mindfulness positively impacts the culture and climate of a classroom by supporting student wellbeing, encouraging balance, breaking from digital screens and allowing students to have more awareness of themselves before they continue going about their day.
*Originally published on Education Technology Solutions: https://educationtechnologysolutions.com.au/2017/11/mindfulness-meets-technology/