Celebrating Success and connecting with Technology

As we approach the end of Term 3 at St Andrew’s School we reflect on some of our achievements. Our participation in sports and competitions that exercise the mind help our students to problem solve and to work as a team. We also take an in-depth look into our relationship with technology at school and at home with our inaugural Click&Connect Week.

Celebrating success

We always continue to share many successes in our School. For the first time, the School has begun competing in table tennis, with both of our teams performing extremely well. In fact, the teams won all of their matches very convincingly. We are so proud of our table tennis teams in this new interschool competition. We have also had success on the netball court and football field. This year success in interschool sport has been an absolute highlight.

Tournament of Minds
St Andrew’s students from Years 4-7 participated in the South Australian Tournament of Minds Final at Flinders University, Tonsley Campus in Week 8. Tournament of Minds is an international competition for Primary and Secondary aged students that requires problem solving and team work. The two St Andrew’s teams have spent six weeks forming a solution to a real-life challenge that they presented on the weekend as a 10-minute dramatic presentation.

In addition to these prepared solutions, the students were called on to solve a ‘spontaneous’ challenge, requiring quick thinking, collaboration and creativity. Both teams will now compete at a virtual international final on 16 October.

Mind Lab
I also wish to congratulate our Mind Lab teams. We entered two teams this year into the Mind Lab competition and we placed both first and second in the competition. That is, our first team took first prize, and our second team, our future, took second prize. In different times our teams would find themselves jetting off to Europe in the upcoming holidays, however, that does not take the shine off their success as Australasian champions.

Click&Connect Week

As we approached the end of Term Three, a term which we began by connecting online rather than face-to-face, we spent a week exploring the relationships we have with technology in our School and in our homes.

In Week 8, 6-10 September, we explored this topic in detail, with the inaugural St Andrew’s Click&Connect Week. Click&Connect Week is a pilot education initiative designed to help parents develop a positive relationship with their children around digital technologies. It provides prompts to celebrate positive uses of technology, explore creative pursuits, and encourages us to take time for important conversations about how we best use our devices.

Andrew Przybylski, Professor of Psychology from Oxford University, engages in research that explores how people interact with the virtual world. Professor Przybylski problematises the term ‘screen time’, something we all refer to, and questions why we don’t have ‘book time’ or ‘food time’. He suggests that the term ‘screen time’ is a negative in our world and works to romanticise and create the analogue world as wholesome, good and helpful. In creating analogue and digital as opposites when the analogue world is something many adults feel more comfortable with, the digital world is therefore seen as inherently bad, distracting, unhealthy and of little use. This seems to be amplified in childhood where screen time has been seen to cause both physical and mental harm to children, with very little discussion of the benefits the digital world can bring when families focus on their relationship with technology.

We can though, choose to engage in positive relationships with technology. For adults this means carefully considering and choosing how we wish to be with our children and technology. Alexandra Samuel has grouped parenting styles around technology into three areas. This can be useful in helping us think about the relationships we wish to have with technology and our children. Samuel’s classifications are:

  1. Digital Limiters. Digital limiters are parents who prefer to keep their children offline for as long as possible, or strictly limit screen time. It is interesting to note that in Samuel’s research she found most parents of pre-school children form this relationship with technology in their household but it rarely lasts. The children of digital limiters are known as digital exiles due to limits around their technology use.
  2. Digital Enablers. Parents who are digital enablers respect their child’s choices online and take their cues from how other families use technology. As this is such a new space for everyone it is little wonder that many parents share and develop their parenting style, and therefore their family’s relationship with technology, from other parents. However, children of digital enablers often tend to become digital orphans as they explore the online world with limited parent guidance.
  3. Digital Mentors. This parenting style falls somewhere in between. Digital mentor parents enjoy spending time with their children online. They model the notion of curiosity with their child and foster online learning, growing their child’s digital skills. Children of digital mentors become digital heirs as they inherit their parents’ curiosity and engagement behaviours.

As with all categorisations, it is rare that one person will fit neatly into one category; we probably all exhibit aspects of each parenting style.

Technology is a key learning tool, and its importance as a vehicle for learning will only continue to grow. We also strive for our children to understand what it means to be a good person, and this means having a moral compass in the virtual world. With this in mind, as a school we would like to create with our children a culture of digital mentorship, rather than censoring or policing how they engage with technology. Policing children, or not discussing difficult topics around technology with them, usually makes them more curious about what goes on in the darker realms of the virtual world. We know children are going to come across things online that are troubling, and by having open and positive relationships with our children, this enables us to have conversations with them when things go wrong. If we are also using technology with our children, they also watch and hear what we do when we encounter problems – and often this is where the greatest learning occurs.

For a school committed to cultivating curiosity, inquisitive mindsets and an entrepreneurial approach, we are committing to providing more support to our families by encouraging parents to feel confident with parenting and technology – Click&Connect Week is just one way we are providing this support.

Thank you for your ongoing interest in and support of our School. I look forward to connecting with you again soon.

Warm wishes

Jackie Becher

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  • St Andrew’s School is a South Australian independent, co-educational specialist primary school providing excellence in education from playgroup through to early years and on to Year 7. Principal Jackie Becher – an International Baccalaureate School – UNESCO Associated School.