Have you tried a Digitial Detox? - Mill Hill Schools

Head’s blog

Have you tried a Digitial Detox?

How well would you cope with a ‘digital detox day’? Last week, Grimsdell and Belmont Schools enjoyed a week focused on wellbeing, concluding last Friday with instructions not to use phones or emails all day long. Sounds attractive!

Over the last week my attention was taken further along the lines of the ‘digital detox’ idea as a result of a fascinating conference I attended looking at Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality and its links with education.

The key note speaker of the conference was Sir Anthony Seldon. You will, I am sure, remember Sir Anthony’s dynamic presentation as our guest speaker at Foundation Day in September 2017 when he spoke so powerfully about what matters in education. In last week’s conference he gave us a taster of his new book, The Fourth Education Revolution – which has the subtitle ‘will AI liberate or infantilise humanity?’

Also speaking at the conference was Rose Luckin, Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at UCL; fascinating speaker and a very relevant position through which she seeks to explore the interface between technology and education – a role which is very new within the education world and yet so very relevant.

Both speakers led us back to the same conclusion, which chimes in with the ‘detox days’ at Grimsdell and Belmont. If we are to embrace this radical revolution brought on by technology we must start to think strategically about our approach. To be held in thrall to the latest developments, to allow an addiction to develop amongst our young to screen time and the rest, would indeed follow the line of infantilising our next generation.

Instead, as technology becomes more complex, we develop within ourselves that element that technology cannot reach: our humanity. We must focus in our schools and communities on those values of respect, kindness, compassion and mutual support which lie at the heart of what it is to be human.

Do read Sir Anthony’s book – and do try a day without your devices!