Face It

This character may look familiar to some of you, but Kristen Wiig, a woman who just cannot keep a secret, played Sue. In this particular skit, depicted in the meme, Sue is supposed to keep a secret about a surprise birthday party for someone. As with all the skits featuring Sue, she gets overly excited about the event, and she is most excited about the other person having no clue. My family frequently uses this quote because it cracks us up to think of Kristen Wiig, delivering this line. Most of the time, though, when we quote it, we are just mimicking Sue–there is no purpose behind it except to be funny.

I include it in my blog today because it appropriately ties in with my topic of avoiding their devices for emails and texts in favor of more face-to-face interactions. To tie this academically, ISTE element 7b for coaches states, “Partner with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology” (ISTE link). More specifically, and the focus of today’s blog, the element further explains “healthy balance” as “…self-regulating time online to ensure well-being and physical health.”

Aside from the pandemic’s current situation, I question how administrators encourage their teaching staff to have more face-to-face interactions with one another? Are administrators making a point to go and talk to teachers one-on-one? Additionally, are teachers having more face-to-face interactions with their colleagues? I know that the current situation is not necessarily conducive to these interactions, but I am talking more about the past few years and when the pandemic has diminished. Will you continue to type out a text message versus walking across the hall to your peer to speak to them? We all know about netiquette and not typing in all caps or trying not to be sarcastic because tone does not always come across that way in a digital message, and the list continues. As a digital leader, though, it is necessary to focus on more personal interactions; focus more on putting down the device that creates a wall between people.

Besides having more personal interactions, simply “unplugging” is very important for keeping a healthy balance. In the article, ‘”I’m Not a Gadget’: A Grounded Theory on Unplugging,” authors Morris and Pickens note, “While many participants varied in their definition of and length of time unplugging, they all described benefits from their decision. . . an impact on physical health, psychological and emotional well-being, and improvements in interpersonal relationships” (275). Although these results seem like an obvious a “well duh” answer to the issue, it seems as though people do not want to simply put down their devices–as if there is an addiction problem. The article noted, “Participants also frequently used addiction-based language, such as craving withdrawal, addiction, and dependence. Even though individuals reported generally positive outcomes from unplugging, participants identified feelings akin to a craving: ‘when the week ended, the kids were not even asking for their electronics”‘ (272). In essence, people suffered from withdrawal, not unlike suffering from withdrawal from drugs. Over time, the cravings were reduced.

By making a concerted effort to unplug, we can kill two birds with one stone; we have more face-to-face interactions with one another while also separating ourselves from devices. Interestingly, I taught my students how to recognize an argument from spoken word poetry and used Marshall Davis Jones’ poem, “Touchscreen.” As I think about ISTE 7b, I think Jones’s poem is very fitting and a perfect way to end today. Enjoy!

References

“ISTE Standards for Coaches.” ISTE, www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches.

Neli Morris & Jaclyn D. Cravens Pickens (2017) “I’m Not a Gadget”: A Grounded Theory on Unplugging, The American Journal of Family Therapy, 45:5, 264-282, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01926187.2017.1365665

Speakeasynyc. (2011, October 13). Marshall David Jones: “Touchscreen”. You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAx845QaOck 

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