District Administration June 2020 - 24

SCREEN SMARTS
Driving digital wellness

Hilliard City Schools' screen-time initiatives have been taken across the state of Ohio by the nonprofit WOSU Public media.
District administrators worked with the organization to establish a digital wellness pledge, with four pillars:

1
Well-being =
Balance is Best:
"I will maintain
a balance
between digital
and face-to-face
interactions
in life."

2
Citizenship =
Be the Best You:
"I will be
responsible,
ethical, honest
and literate in
today's digital
world."

3

4

Etiquette = It's
Cool to Be Kind:
"I will choose to
be positive with
others online."

Safety =
Be Aware:
"I will be safe
online and
protect private
information."
Source: DAmag.me/wosu

devices, Superintendent Dan Behm says.
"I've even had students tell me they've
made new friends."
Students report feeling more content,
focused and refreshed, and this led them
to also reduce their use of phones and
social media outside school, Behm says.
"In my 19 years as a superintendent,
this is one of the easiest things I've ever
implemented," Behm says.

lack of students' sleep, bullying and
depression, all of which can be linked
to how young people use their devices,
Hampton says.
LiveMore ScreenLess is creating a
series of videos in which young people
talk about navigating screen time in and
outside school, and the actions they're
taking to avoid being distracted by their
devices.

Nonprofit swings into action
A new nonprofit, LiveMore ScreenLess (livemoretoday.org), wants to help
schools prioritize student wellness as
they develop screen time policies and
guidelines. The organization has held
focus groups in which students have
admitted they have poor communication skills. Some have even want to take
a class on having conversations, says
co-founder Maree Hampton, a public
health expert.
"We've heard them say, 'We don't
know how to talk to one another. We've
relied on texting and social media to communicate, and now it's really awkward,' "
Hampton says.
The nonprofit's survey of teachers
revealed near unanimous concerns about

'No world without screens'
Educators may also need to fine tune
messaging to parents about screen time.
That's because "engagement" no longer
serves as the sole reason for ed tech adoptions, says Julie Evans, the CEO of Project
Tomorrow, a nonprofit resource provider
and STEM research organization.
"Parents have to see students are
doing something on their devices that
they couldn't do in a traditional classroom environment," says Evans, who
has presented on screen time at the
Future of Education Technology Conference® (fetc.org).
Educators, for instance, can use tech
to show students simulations of molecular activity-something they couldn't do
without a computer. In addition, ed tech

can be linked to students' development
of college and career skills such as critical
thinking, collaboration and creativity.
"People often say technology isolates
people, but kids say the opposite," Evans
says. "Kids tell us all the time that a primary benefit of using technology is the
opportunity to collaborate and to communicate with each other more effectively."
Ultimately, in an era of widespread distance learning, students need guidance,
not restrictions, on the use of screens,
says Jordan Shapiro, the author of The
New Childhood: Raising Kids to Thrive in
a Connected World (Little, Brown Spark,
2018) who also teaches at Temple University in Philadelphia.
On the one hand, LGBTQ students
have found a crucial sense of belonging
in online communities that they may not
experience offline. On the other side of
the spectrum, social media can also connect students with hate groups.
"Educators play a huge role here in
helping kids interpret these feelings of
belonging as the good version or the bad
version," Shapiro says. "Screens are such
an integral part of the world we live in-
there's no world without screens in it,
anymore." DA

DISCUSS SCREEN TIME WITH PEERS at a Technology Leadership
Summit or Academy, DAmag.me/cioevents or DAmag.me/cioacademies

Matt Zalaznick is DA's senior writer.

24 | June 2020DistrictAdministration.com


http://www.DAmag.me/wosu http://www.livemoretoday.org http://www.fetc.org http://www.DAmag.me/cioevents http://www.DAmag.me/cioacademies http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

District Administration June 2020

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District Administration June 2020 - Cover1
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