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Face Time

Dr. Randy Watts
At Brookwood, we are proponents of instructional technology and relish in the opportunities that technology can bring to the learning environment. We are also proponents of leadership, and know that the value of the face-to-face relationships leadership is paramount.
As I was scrolling through my Facebook account recently, I came across a post of an old friend of mine. She commented that her eldest, a middle school student at an independent school in Atlanta, has received 520 text messages over the course time that she and her mother had watched a movie. Wow!
 
Frankly, I was unaware that one could receive that many text messages in a day. I can only imagine what the feel of buzz after buzz on one’s phone must be like. I further pondered who must have been writing her, what information she was receiving, and how she would make sense of it all.
 
We live in an era of hyper-connectivity. There has been much written about how connected we are, how distracting this information overload can be, and the larger issue of how our connectedness has increased the strength of social pressure. As Greg McKeown said in the book Essentialism, “Today, technology has lowered the barrier for others to share their opinion about what we should be focusing on. “ It is not simply a matter of information overload, it is an overload of ideas, opinions, and feelings that can be overwhelming to any of us, much less our students.
 
Educational and mental health researchers have become concerned about the role that hyper-connectivity, especially, social media and texting, plays in the lives of young adolescents. Notably, anxiety, self-esteem, and friendship development are impacted through heavy use of social media and texting.
 
I had the opportunity recently to chaperone a trip with our 6th grade boys, along with Mr. Humphries and Mr. Byce. The retreat was tech-free; we had almost two days without input from the electronic world.
 
I relished the chance to slow down time and engage with boys. Throughout the retreat, we were not in a hurry, and we were not distracted; all the students had to do was to take on the next challenge in the ropes course initiatives.  This allowed for natural leadership to emerge, and tasks to be brought to fruition. Further, I expect that they would all share that it provided them the opportunity to get to know their chaperones, classmates, and themselves better.
 
At Brookwood, we are proponents of instructional technology and relish in the opportunities that technology can bring to the learning environment. We are also proponents of leadership, and know that the value of the face-to-face relationships leadership is paramount.
 
Every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Turning technology on is only useful if you can turn it off.  As we move toward the finish line of this academic year, let’s all enjoy some Face Time.
 
 
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Located in Thomasville, GA, Brookwood School is a private school for grades JK-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.