Guest post by Bay Collins
Ergonomics for a Digital Academic School Year
In this digital age we are able to do so many technological interventions from home. One can shop with a click of a button, telehealth and teleconferences are on the rise, and virtual learning is an option that many schools are considering for the safety of students and staff. Whether your child has their own digital device for learning or have a device the school district has provided, here are some ergonomic or efficient ideas to foster a successful school year.
Establishing a “night before” and a “morning of” school routine is just as important as if they were to attend a brick-and-mortar school.
~ Night before – encourage the child to select the desired clothes to wear for the next day learning; top, bottom, shoes and jacket or sweater. Prepare lunch, snacks, bottled water, favorite drinks then refrigerate the lunch box. Review with your child online or paper school planner, discuss the next day learning assignments and schedules for breaks and lunch. Routine bedtime hours are vital for a productive day.
~Morning of - adhering to routine...brushing teeth, self-grooming, eating breakfast and dressing for success! Putting on attire that others will see promotes pride; no pajamas. When virtual school time begins your child is now ready to log in and commence learning.
Allow the student to get familiar with the keyboard and how it is used. This technique will encourage more accurate responses when typing is required and completing online homework assignments. There are free keyboard lessons that are available online.
In person learning gives parents an opportunity to meet the teacher. Don’t let virtual learning make your academic goals for your child be any different. Teachers are working diligently to make learning interactive. Feel free to send a quick email to the teacher introducing yourself and the best ways to contact you.
DESIGNATED LEARNING AREA
Together, you and your child select the area that will be the designated learning area and then proceed to prepare the area:
~ Desk - If possible, try to invest in an adjustable desk. Children can grow up to 2.5 inches in a year(1). The desk or table should be within the child's arm reach to avoid the child bending over or forward. A leveled desk or tabletop promotes good posture and helps to avoid fatigue.
~Chair – The child will be sitting for several hours, make sure the sole of the child's feet touch the floor; their feet must not dangle or hang without support. Check how the child sits in the chair, some may prefer a cushion for the seat or a pillow for back support. Look at their arms, do they rest comfortably on the table? Is there room so the screen is not to close?
ORGANIZATION IS IMPORTANT
A great start is having the child who is familiar with a school setting to help create a school supply list. Then allow or assist them with organization of their learning area:
* Purchase the recommended supply list according to grade level.
* A clear ink blotter pad can protect the desk or table from accidental mishaps that tend to happen from time to time.
* Adjust the monitor screen at eye level.
* A designated learning area is not complete without pens, pencils, highlighter and pen/pencil holders.
*Pencil sharpener, the handheld manual sharpeners remain popular
*A desk calendar to track homework assignments and test schedules are great reminders for parents and students. Encourage entry of non-school events i.e. birthdays, holidays, medical visits, and outdoors events.
* A container or a drawer that holds items that are important depending on the child’s age as paper, crayons, rulers or calculators.
* Binders labeled on the outside for each subject i.e. Math, Reading, Writing Skills, Science.
* A simple wastepaper basket within reach.
* Personalize the student’s work area with a picture of themselves or something that they enjoy. This is especially important if you have more than one child or you are working from home.
*Think about the background, a simple solution is to place the back of the chair near the wall. If you have a desire to be creative, you can purchase or build a stand and cover it with seamless paper.
*Natural light is my favorite, however; there are times when we need additional light therefore select a lamp that does not add glare on the monitor screen or is harsh on the student’s eyes.
*Limit background noise. It can be distracting to hear the washer or dryer in the background.
GOOD HEALTH IS ESSENTIAL
It is so important to take care of your family’s health. With so much screen time, there are concerns about dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, back and neck strain. Be sure to contact your healthcare professional as needed and maintain annual visits.
Hydration is important to good health, it is very popular to have an easy twist cap bottled water available.
Guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services recommend that children ages 6 and over should get an hour of physical activity at least three times a week.
Whether you selected virtual learning or your child’s school or district made that decision, you are an essential part of your child’s education. Your involvement helps your child succeed in their journey of knowledge.
R- REAL -TIME
Reference (1) According to John Hopkins medical website.