Remote Adaptations to Limit Screen Time

Across the country, here at EPS, and probably in your home, remote schooling raises concerns about lengthy periods of on-screen activities. “Screen time” has been the subject of many teacher conversations since we transitioned to EPSRemote back in March, and collectively we have implemented a number of practices to mitigate this unavoidable reality of COVID-induced isolation. While the examples listed below are not practical or possible for all classes all of the time, we wanted you to know about the efforts we are making. At the same time we share our intentions and practices, we recognize that limiting screen time while continuing a robust educational experience is a partnership. So we also included a list of friendly suggestions that we hope prompt some conversations among your family about ways that you as students and parents can incorporate healthy screen-free activities into your school day and leisure time.

Teacher Efforts

  • Where possible, we assign physical books and plays, recommend and accommodate journaling on paper
  • Limit written homework (in Spanish, for example) instead emphasizing listening skills through music, podcasts, etc.
  • Set time aside within class sessions for off-camera work time
  • Create assignments and assessments that can be completed by printing and/or handwriting and uploading a scan or photo
  • In flipped classrooms, where presentation of information comes outside of the class meetings, provide audio lectures instead of video lectures
  • In tech courses, provide kits for hands-on building and tinkering, and in art courses, supplies for physical creation
  • Provide timed homework targets for teachers and students
  • Incorporate physical art projects into other classes (e.g. Geometry)
  • Built schedule with 30-minute passing periods for screen breaks, with teachers reminding students to use that time off screen
  • Off-screen PE activities, including exercises and scavenger hunts
  • Home laboratory experiments and activities in Science classes
  • Outdoor activities in a variety of classes, from nature exploration, to nature journaling

 Suggestions to Students

  • Print assignments when possible, including readings and other resources posted in OneNote
  • Submit assignments via scan or photo of hand-written work. If you’re uncertain about this, ask your teacher ahead of time, but in almost all instances we’re happy to have you do this as long as we can read your handwriting. (It’s also a great way to annotate!)
  • Study or review memorization tasks while walking
  • Call your friends on the phone—it’s old school, but most of your teachers and parents turned out ok with this ancient technology
  • Take “screen-free” breaks, rather than hopping to another screen activity to relax after class—books, puzzles, crosswords, music are all good alternatives to video games and social media
  • Get outside! Even in the rain, a simple walk is incredibly rejuvenating and invigorating. It is counter-intuitive so you have to push yourself to do it sometimes, but when you’re feeling tired or run-down exerting yourself moderately will actually boost your energy.
  • Try the 20-20-20 routine. Take a 20-second screen break, every 20 minutes, by looking at an object at least 20 feet away.
  • Listen to podcasts and audio books. In some cases, you may be able to cite these as sources for classwork, but even if only for recreation these are two activities that give your eyes a chance to rest and recuperate.