The first week after half term was “slow tech” week, when all of us in the school community were encouraged to take a step back from high tech and consider alternative ways of spending our time. We were encouraged to sit down with a newspaper in the library rather than follow a newsfeed, to turn off notifications on our phones and stop clicking that addictive “like” button, even just for a day. Other possible challenges included removing apps from our phone and only using them on our laptop, leaving our phone in a phone crèche for the day, or just shutting the email window for a while to concentrate on just one thing at a time.
To encourage girls to get outdoors we had giant Jenga on the lawn, quoits, and a huge snakes and ladders board complete with inflatable dice (yes, we did manage to fit five Year 7s onto a single board square at one point!). Staff joined in by including some deliberately “retro” activities in lessons, such as matching cards activities, mini whiteboard games and mind-map revision races. Three brave families of Year 9 students even went for the ultimate “phone jail” challenge, in which the whole family restricted their phone use for a week with the help of a lockable phone cage!
In assembly, we were reminded that we tend to get stuck in habits in the way we use technology, and it is good to step back once in a while and reassess how we are using it. Overuse of social media has been shown, ironically, to lead to loneliness, as users neglect their real-life relationships and hobbies, so the aim of slow tech week is to get us thinking about how we use our gadgets, and whether we might be happier if we spent more time speaking face to face, moving our bodies, and having fun with our friends “IRL”.
Mrs Gail Haythorne and Mr William Bohanna