In an effort to get students to reflect upon their daily technology habits and their overall screen time, we asked grade six students what types of digital devices they are using at home and school (Smartphones, laptops, television, tablets,etc.). We then asked students what they were doing on these devices (Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat, video games, Google, etc.).From there, grade six students were asked to record their use of digital devices and what they were doing online on an average school day.
Afterwards, students explored the reasons behind using digital media. The top three responses were communication and sharing, entertainment, and education and skills.
All students completed the daily log similar to the one above. Then each student calculated the amount of hours they spent using digital media per day. In order to determine a percentage of daily use per student, we agreed that six grade students were awake an average of 16 hours a day. From here, students could compare how much they used digital devices on a average waking day.
As the technology integrator, I found this lesson quite powerful because it gave students hard evidence of how much time they spend using digital devices. Some students reached as high as 81% of their day and others came in at about 30 to 40%. As a class, we asked students what surprised them about the results and if these results made them rethink how they spend their time.
With the understanding that digital devices are effective tools that can play very positive roles in our lives, we also looked at how we could spend our time without a digital device. Could we have a better balance? Are we using these because we are just bored? Could we get outside a bit more? Would it be a good idea to develop some new habits?
One interesting aspect that come up for me was the high use of YouTube for watching videos and listening to music. Out of 50 sicth grade students, 44 said they used YouTube daily – that is 88% of sixth graders. YouTube is a fantastic resource, but there are also many alternatives. I recently found an article ‘47+ Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom’ that can be applied to home use as well.
How much time do you spend on your digital devices?