CoVID-19 has impacted and affected the world like no other event has in the foreseeable past. Most of the world was closed in one form or the other, with many countries imposing strict all-in lock downs. Schools, educational institutions were the first to be shut down. The teaching moved to an online mode, proctored exam, and virtual classrooms became the norm. Teaching and learning quickly transformed and adjusted to new ways of remote learning, digital teaching. Teachers had to learn new teaching methodologies to be effective in the virtual space, and children have to put in double the effort to avoid distractions.
What exactly is digital fatigue?
We are used to having a screen as a source of entertainment – playing games, consuming content or communicating with others. When the same device becomes a tool to learn, it demands concentration at another level. And this concentrated, increased screen time can be exhausting leading to a phenomenon called “digital fatigue”.
In pre-CoVID-19 times, if you’d ask students what they desire the most, chances are, you’d get a long, lazy holiday as an answer. Ask the same students the same question now, most of them would definitely say how they miss school. And the classroom experience, meeting friends and interacting during lessons. E-learning fatigue or digital fatigue is when students reach a level of saturation, and can no longer absorb what they are being taught due to excessive digital exposure.
Sri Prakash, a premium group of institutions, with the distinction of the best international school in Andhra Pradesh, has over 44 years of experience in the field of education. We have created learning spaces, committed to imparting quality education with world class infrastructure and all round education. During the pandemic, our teachers and tech teams have put their best foot forward, trying to create the best virtual classroom experience as possible.
Even when schools go back to pre-covid times, a hybrid model of learning which combines the best of physical and virtual teaching is in the pipeline. Here are a few ways teachers, parents and care givers can help students to cope up with digital fatigue.
Create a classroom environment
This has to be done at both ends. A large part of the learning experience is the setting, and space the child is immersed in. Teachers must create a classroom like environment while teaching and use physical, virtual and other immersive teaching aids to make the lesson interactive. Change of seating arrangements, fun settings, colour and theme to keep them interested is a great idea.
The 20-20-20 rule
Every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, look 20 feet away. This gives a much needed break to the eyes and the brain.
At the same time, as a parent or caregiver, set a special corner or nook with good lighting, device placement, a desk and chair setting. This is not just for the psychological aspect that it creates a positive impact, but also the fact that an ergonomically friendly space will help children stay concentrated.
Set a learning timetable
School time tables went hunky dory in the initial phase of establishing an online routine. As everyone tried to cope with new ways of learning. And teaching – with failed links, teachers trying to login, children logging in late into the meeting, network issues and a million other factors, a routine is better than no routine at all.
Many good schools have set up a routine, and classes have been going on smoothly. On holidays, or days where the school is unable to accommodate a schedule, create a light schedule for the student which balances between learning and entertainment on the device. Remember the device is at the center of it all, and the idea is to minimize exhaustion.
Set an example of healthy digital behavior
We cannot stress this enough. Children emulate the behavior of their elders. When parents set exemplary behavior, it is easy for children to follow without confusion. This can be tricky and difficult, because hey, work is happening on devices right now, and takes priority. Covid-19 among many things has been this litmus test for a true work life balance. So, just set boundaries for yourself and the children will definitely follow!
Keep track of behavior and notice patterns
With social media anxiety, and FOMO (Fear of missing out), children face mental exhaustion at many levels. It is vital that as parents we notice even subtle changes in behavior, their virtual interactions, and social media footprint. If they are old enough to be on social media. Observe their sleep cycles, behavior with family and friends and overall health. If they are exhausted or asocial we must not hesitate in contacting the school or seek professional help.
Take breaks – short and frequent
Schools in the league of Sri Prakash, the best international school in Visakhapatnam district has many advantages in terms of holistic development it offers with sports and co-curricular activities. However, this physical activity is compromised with e-learning. We must consciously make up for it by stretching, yoga or other indoor exercise routines. These may be slow in showing benefits, but help in the long run.
With a few pointers, you can help your child beat digital fatigue!