Tech Mindfulness - SLO Classical Academy
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San Luis Obispo Classical Academy San Luis Obispo Classical Academy

tech mindfulness

a plan

Face-to-face conversation is the most human—and humanizing—thing we do. Fully present to one another, we learn to listen. It’s where we develop the capacity for empathy. It’s where we experience the joy of being heard, of being understood. And conversation advances self-reflection, the conversations with ourselves that are the cornerstone to early development and continue throughout life.

– Sherry Turkle

At SLOCA, we believe that technology is a helpful tool with unprecedented opportunities. We also believe technology is enchanting, and that we are all vulnerable to negative impacts of technology on our relationships, minds and character—in essence, on who we are. In an effort to acknowledge both the wonder and utility of technology while encouraging the best possible learning environment for all (at work, in the classrooms, and at home), the following tech guidelines have been adopted.

Basic commitments of the SLOCA community:

we are a community that...

. . . forges character, fosters wisdom and nurtures a lifelong passion for learning.  This will be our primary focus.

. . . invites and seeks conversation, on campus, and at home.

. . . places high value on real books, face-to-face interactions, and sustained attention.

We are therefore a community that embraces, enjoys, and pursues technology as it fulfills these commitments—not in technology for technology’s sake. By limiting our use of technology (and media), we believe our staff, families and, most importantly, our students have greater opportunity to grow and develop good, lifelong habits for the future.

  • We will seek to listen to, understand and empathize with community members during conversations.
  • Communication regarding anything that might be sensitive will be done in person or on the phone. We will apologize in person only.
  • We will limit long and arduous conversations via email.
  • In general, communication between staff members and families is encouraged during office/school hours (Monday-Friday, 7:00am-4:00pm). This will help prevent burnout and encourage all families to be present together in the evenings and on the weekends. It furthermore communicates that the school is not open 24/7, and offers much needed SLOCA-free time for all parties. If you work outside of these hours or are a I-like-to-work-at-night type of person, please consider holding your emails until or scheduling emails to send in the morning. We are not regulating/suggesting when you can work, but rather when communication takes place.
  • We have both Low and No Tech Zones designated around campus, in addition to our No Phones policy for students. Generally, classrooms and meeting spaces are designated as Low Tech, meaning that—staff, parents, and high school students are to utilize devices for school/work use only while on campus. 

  • As staff, we model minimal use of phones during work hours. We encourage all adults on campus to do the same.
  • Individual teams should discuss and agree upon the tech guidelines they’d like to follow for specific meeting types, but we encourage device-free meetings as possible. We suggest tech breaks if necessary, or using devices only with participant approval.
  • We will be mindful of how and when we instill technology administratively.  We will utilize it for efficiency and when it clearly benefits our community.
  • Texting between staff (for work) is to be used sparingly and only when a team agrees to texting communication, or when expediency is of utmost importance. This will enable us to rest better and help reduce the sense of “I must respond right away” experiences in our lives and insure that communication is received.
  • We will create spaces for conversation to occur.
  • We will explore unitasking and deep work for ourselves and our students.
  • We will be mindful when using technology in the classroom—if the purpose clearly enhances learning and classical education goals, tech is to be happily enjoyed.
  • We will continue to prioritize live teaching over recorded or online teaching.  Careful consideration of our mission will be given when choosing online methods. 
  • We will continue to grapple with and instill a less but better (or, “less is more”) approach to educating—working to create more space for boredom, solitude and relating. We will also think about how to encourage learning and activities that encourage both solitude and group work.
  • Together, we enforce our No Phones policy on campus for students.
  • We will also think about how to encourage learning and activities that involve both solitude and group work.
  • We will integrate learning that requires sustained attention at each age-appropriate level.
  • We will utilize and prioritize hard copies of books (over audio and digital versions).
  • We will encourage note-taking by hand.
  • We will teach alternative methods of research in addition to online methods.
  • We will explore unitasking our students.
  • As staff, we model minimal use of phones during work hours. We encourage all adults on campus to do the same.
  • Whenever possible, we will encourage face-to-face conversations between families at home and continue to provide tools and reminders.

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