It’s 2016 and alerts, alarms, beeps, bleeps, tweets, nudges, and notifications are a part of life. They are commonplace; they are the “normal”.
Information travels at warp speed in this highly technological world—and we are constantly being notified about it. Basically, we live in a world of endless distractions.
Without providing some balance to this media-focused world, we are doing our students (and children) a disservice; they may believe that knowing the world through media is a complete way of knowing. They may be ill-equipped to enjoy stillness, to focus and engage with the world around them with their bodies. They may be unaware of the detail and wonder they are missing in the actual, physical world around them.
These activities can help your students to understand and experience the multiple ways in which human beings engage and make-meaning in the world. They can help them to develop necessary skills for focusing on the present moment and experiencing more of its complexity.
All the suggested activities involve practicing skills that focus on the now. They develop the Imaginative Ecological Education principle of Activeness by engaging a whole range of the body’s tools for more fully acknowledging and experiencing the world. They are open-ended and allow you to make any number of different curricular connections. I hope you find them useful for temporarily silencing the distractions and helping your students re-focus their attention on the wonder-ful world of which they are part.
Note: Interested readers should explore the work of my colleague Dr. Kym Stewart. Her writing, research, and teaching specialize in the role imagination in general (and Imaginative Education in particular) can play in a sophisticated media education. This is a particularly compelling and insightful article: Stewart, K. (2015). Bring us back to our senses. In K. Egan, G. Judson, & K. Madej (Eds.) Engaging imagination and developing creativity in education (2nd Ed), pp.s 247-260. (Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press).