In today’s classrooms, technology is a fundamental component of both . From individual laptops to interactive whiteboards to tablets loaded with educational apps, tech tools have transformed our classrooms.

There’s no denying that technology is a powerful tool to have in the classroom, however, despite the numerous benefits, more people are realizing the importance of taking a step back and unplugging from technology. Taking a tech break offers relief to both teachers and students as well as promotes a classroom environment that engages interaction and supports various learning styles.

How a Tech Break Can Be Beneficial

Tech breaks can have a significant impact on both students and teachers. Here are a few of the benefits.

Increases Focus and Attention

 have examined the impact that screen time has had on a child’s attention and concentration and have found that excessive screen time is associated with attention problems such as distracted focus and reduced concentration. A tech break allows students to adjust their focus and become more engaged in learning with material that is not on a screen.

Promotes Social Skills

While tech tools offer ways to connect with others it doesn’t offer the face-to-face interaction that you get when you are in front of someone. These types of interactions are crucial for developing social skills like learning social cues that are needed to interact with other humans. By stepping away from technology and encouraging direct communication, students will learn the interpersonal skills that are essential for them to navigate through life.

Reduces Anxiety

 have shown that depression, anxiety, aggression, eye strain, and memory problems are just a few of the health concerns that technology is responsible for. Yet, we continue to pick up our smartphones and use our digital devices each day. By unplugging we can help calm our students’ minds. Tech breaks can help alleviate digital fatigue, stress levels, and our overall well-being.

Stimulates Creativity

When you’re unsure about something, it’s convenient to simply “Google” it for a quick answer. However, without technology, you’re compelled to engage in critical thinking. Unplugging from technology forces students to be creative and think outside of the box, encouraging them to come up with ideas without relying on technology. This not only boosts their imagination but also their problem-solving skills.

Helps with Present-Moment Awareness

Technology can be distracting, the constant notifications on your phone can force you to react immediately. Unplugging can help students live in the moment. One study from  found that when students went on a media fast they reported feeling present-moment awareness. They also used words such as mindfulness, presence, and sensory awareness to describe their experience without technology, indicating their ability to engage in the moment they are in without the distraction of technology.

Ways to Unplug From Classroom Tech

Implementing strategies to disconnect from digital tools offers an enriching educational experience. Here are three ideas on how to foster more human interaction.

Implement Tech-Free Zones

Create designated spaces throughout your school where technology is off-limits. For example, a specific place in the library where students can unplug and use traditional research methods with books. Specific classrooms such as the art room or music room where students are required to partake in hands-on learning.

During lunchtime, students will be forced to interact with one another instead of being on their smartphones. By implementing tech-free zones, you are supporting a variety of different learning experiences that will help contribute to a balanced educational experience that students will hopefully see the value of.

Take Learning Outdoors

Whenever feasible, take learning outside of the classroom. Outdoor education steps beyond traditional teaching methods and creates educational opportunities where students are in nature or other spaces that are not the classroom. Outdoor educational experiences take students away from their screens and give them real-world experiences where they can develop a deeper understanding of the world around them. Nature walks, and field trips to museums or businesses offer engaging experiences where students can gain knowledge and skills that will enrich their education beyond using technology.

Integrate Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning (PBL) entails students actively exploring real-world issues and challenges through hands-on learning and experiments. This learning approach fosters an interactive, collaborative experience that doesn’t have to rely on technology. Through teamwork and experimentation, students learn from one another while developing essential skills that will prepare them for their future.

Utilize Creative Arts

Implementing the use of more creative arts is another way to unplug from technology. You are taking them away from screentime by having students engage in painting, drawing, theater, music, drama, or any art form that will help them express themselves. Allow students to explore their creative interests and get a break from the constant stimulation of technology. Not only will they benefit from creativity, but the break will also contribute to their personal well-being as well as promote a healthy balance between digital devices and hands-on learning experiences.

Finding a Balanced Approach

Unplugging from technology offers many benefits such as increased focus, present-moment awareness, more face-to-face interaction, and a calm mind. However, it’s also important to understand the value that it brings to education. The key is to find a balanced approach. To do this you may need to set tech guidelines for students to follow to ensure digital tools are being used to enhance learning and not distract students from learning. You may also create a classroom atmosphere where students understand the value of using tech tools and other traditional educational experiences.

Taking a tech break and unplugging from classroom technology does not dismiss the use of digital devices; it simply demonstrates the need for balance. By integrating tech breaks and showing students the value of digital and non-digital learning experiences, you are fostering an educational setting that equips students for any challenges in their lives.