The Screen Time Equation – Crafting Thoughtful Solutions to a Digital Life Dilemma

screen time

What is screen media?

Crafting screen time guidelines for all family members is a great back-to-school undertaking, but coming up with guidance that is fair and equitable requires family members to consider and answer a range of questions.

Devoting beginning-of-the-year time — at home and at school — to examine solutions to the screen time equation will help 21st Century  children find and understand answers to the most challenging question that so many of us ask, “What exactly is screen time?” To help get started the whole family can  listen to a radio program about screen time, a 2015 broadcast on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show.

Schools can support and collaborate with families by helping students understand the usefulness of non-screen activities, specifying clearly to parents and students the academic expectations for school digital devices at home, and explaining in detail what students are expected to do and use when they complete work online. Refocusing on multitasking (It’s not possible.) is also a good idea as well as stating the school’s commitment to student privacy.         Continue reading

The Annual Beloit College Mindset List Is Out!

Check out the Mindset Lists of American History.

Check out the Mindset book!

Want to learn a bit about the students who are entering college right now and infer a bit about digital kids at other ages? Check out this year’s Beloit College Mindset list for the class of 2017.

Started in 1998 by two faculty members at Beloit, the list was originally created as a way for faculty and staff at the college to learn more about how easy it is for adults talk about things that they take for granted but that their students don’t know.  The website includes past years’ lists.

As parents and teachers we gain far more credibility with digital-age children when we understand that many of the things we refer to are not a part of their mindset, and when we make an effort to understand the context of their young lives.

A Few of My Favorite Items from This Year’s Mindset List

(But there are 60 items out students on the list.) Continue reading

Teachers Helped My Daughter Become Who She Is Today

I spent time on my porch thinking about the good teachers who helped my daughter thrive.

Another school year started this week, right after a relaxed three-day Labor Day weekend. But my three-days were more special than most, because I spent the time with my thirty-something daughter. As I thought about beginning the school year my mind kept wandering back to the years the two of us started school together, she as a student and me as a teacher.

I listened to my daughter, now a physician, talk about her work and her life, marveling at her competence, eagerness to learn, empathy, discipline, and, yes, her sense of fun. More than once during our conversations I thought about the teachers who helped her develop and strengthen these skills, people who took her interests into consideration — as well as the required topics.

A preschool teacher encouraged my daughter to get up and keep going after a fall or a spat, and her kindergarten teacher recognized her love of books but also reminded her to relax and play. In second grade her teacher came to the rescue when my daughter wanted to bring a book to read at recess, and this same gifted educator suggested that she “become an author” and write her own books.

Once a week in second grade each child was encouraged think of a hard word and learn how to spell it. Boy was my husband surprised one day, as he worked on his public health policy dissertation, when our daughter, age seven, came up to his desk and happily spelled epidemiology. She told him that she liked the way the word looked when she saw it on his pages and asked to know more about what it meant. I just know that teacher suggested that she ask her dad for more information.             Continue reading