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 our 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 (at work, in classrooms, and at home), the following tech guidelines have been adopted. It is our hope that in doing so, we will be challenged to make space in our personal and professional lives for conversation—with ourselves, with our families, with each other, and with the greater public.
Basic commitments of the SLOCA community:
we will be 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.
. . . embraces and enjoys technology, but is committed to being mindful of and limiting our use of technology/media for the sake of our our own development, relationships, and ultimately, for the sake of our children. They will have a greater opportunity to grow into flourishing adults if they learn good habits now.
- We will create device-free zones on campus
- Together, we will enforce our “no-phones” policy currently in place for students.
- We will model minimal use of phones.
- 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 be mindful of how and when we instill technology administratively. We will utilize it for efficiency and when it clearly benefits our community.
- We will limit long and arduous conversations via email.
- We will apologize in person only.
- In general, communication between staff members and with families is encouraged during office/school hours, M-F 7:00-4:00. This helps set good boundaries for our staff and encourages families to be present together in the evenings and on weekends.
. . . by creating space for it with one’s self, our children, and with the parents and children we serve.
- 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 work to prioritize face-to-face interactions, especially when communicating sensitive information.
- We will be willing to have hard conversations.
- We will seek to listen to, understand, and empathize with community members during conversations.
- We will create spaces for conversation to occur
- We will continue to grapple with and instill a “less is more” approach to educating, working to create more space for boredom, solitude and relating.
- We will encourage at every turn conversation occurring at home; continue to provide tools and reminders.
- We will integrate learning at age-appropriate levels that requires sustained attention.
- We will utilize real books, allowing for auditory books only in conjunction with real books.
- We will encourage note-taking by hand.
- We will teach alternative methods of research in addition to online methods.
- We will explore unitasking for ourselves and our students