If you’ve spent any long period of time sitting at a desk, you know that it can get uncomfortable. If you add the fact that you are using a device like a laptop or a tablet, it can get even more uncomfortable the longer you stick with it.
Ergonomics is the study and design of efficient working environments and is even more important than ever in this period of online learning. Here are 4 top tips for thinking about ergonomics in your online learning space:
- Establish a good working space! According to the University of Illinois, this includes creating a specific space for learning, minimizing distractions, and ensuring you have all the tools that you might need ahead of time.
- Good posture is important! Believe it or not, there have been numerous studies around the appropriate posture when using a computer or tablet. The University of Michigan’s Department of Health has compiled a list of things to remember when it comes to using your computer for long periods of time.
- If you feel yourself getting sore, move! At school, students are almost never sitting, without moving, for very long. Whether it’s getting up to change activities or just getting up to borrow a pencil, students are constantly moving. Make sure your online learning environment is similar. Take brain breaks or get up to do some simple stretches. It will help your body and mind!
- Don’t forget about your eyes! The State University of New York College of Opthalmology states that the short-term effects of digital eye strain are tired and dry eyes. Some users might also experience headaches. To help fight this, the 20-20-20 rule can help: every 20 minutes (or so) take a break and look at something 20 feet away (or so) for 20 seconds (or so). This is also a good time to stretch your neck and shoulders. They also state that no long-term effects of digital eye strain have been identified so far.
Please make sure to look after yourselves!
During a normal school day, students use their devices on and off throughout the day. In the classroom, they are changing activities, working in small groups, focusing on the teacher at the front of the class, working on their own individual device, working offline, and getting up to go to recess or different classrooms. All of this leads to a variety of experiences throughout the day: online and offline; individual and group ; active and seated; independent and teacher-directed. The list can go on and on!
These breaks and changes of scenery give our students a chance to recharge, refocus and keep learning. As students and parents, how are you incorporating these mini-breaks into your daily routines?
One great option is taking a brain break. A brain break is a short activity designed to get students up and out of their sets, to help the blood flow through their body, and to keep them from staying sedentary for too long. There are websites dedicated to listing out all manner of Brain Breaks for students, but many students already know some from their classroom teachers. One popular brain break is a quick Just Dance video that you can find on YouTube. Have a quick dance and some fun before starting your next task!
Another option is timing your snack and drink breaks to get you up and out of your chair. Take a few minutes to grab some fruit or another healthy snack, or pour yourself a glass of water on a regular basis so that you keep your body fueled and moving!
Dragons’ Tube (http://isbtube.isb.bj.edu.cn) is our self-hosted video server. The videos uploaded here are accessible to anyone in the world without VPN. ICT is working with our internet service providers in China to improve external access to Dragons’ Tube for uploading and viewing videos.
You can find a tutorial on how to upload to Dragons’ Tube here.
In Middle and High School, you can upload a video directly to DX using the “File Upload” option. Technically, there is no file size limit but the smaller the video (compressed), the faster it will upload and the faster it will transcode for students to watch. If you’ve uploaded your video to Stream or Dragons’ Tube, you can also just paste the link to the video in the post.
In the Elementary School, you and your students can record a video directly into Seesaw, with a limit of 10 minutes recording time.
You can also upload a video that you have created and compressed to Seesaw using the “Upload” option. Or, if you have saved your video in OneDrive or ES 365 for others to use, you can paste the link into your message. If you use the “Insert Link” option, the link will work but it will create a preview image that is not very attractive!
Using the “Upload” option to a video saved on my computer
Using the “Link” option to a video shared on ES 365.
Pasting the shared link to a video on ES 365 into a note. If you want to make this a bit nicer, you could use a link shortener like tinyurl. Do not use bit.ly since it does not work without a VPN
Microsoft Stream (https://web.microsoftstream.com/) is a new feature of Office 365 that allows us to upload videos and share them with anybody in our organization. This means that in order to view a video shared on Stream, you must have an ISB email and password. This is not a suitable option for videos that are to be viewed by parents or by students in Grade 3 or below.
Some interesting features of Stream include automatic searchable transcript of the audio and the ability to link a form to the video for feedback and interactivity.
First, log in to Stream from any Office 365 tool (like Outlook Online, Word Online, etc.)
Upload your video under the “Create” menu. You can also create a Channel for your course (Grade 6 Humanities; Grade 10 Math; etc.) to group all the videos related to your course.
Once your video is uploaded, you can go to the viewing page. Grab the URL to share in a DX thought, or use the Share button to embed the video into your blog or into a DX Lesson.
Here’s an example of a video embedded from Stream. If you aren’t logged in to 365, it will not show properly. Click on the video and login to see it!