How is screen time affecting your vision?

Learn what CVS is and what you can do to help decrease the symptoms.

How many hours a day do you spend looking at a screened piece of technology?

If you are like most of us, your answer could be anywhere between two and ten hours a day. You may or may not be surprised by this number if you work on a computer, own a smartphone or perhaps have a mild addiction to your Xbox, Netflix or Kindle. But have you ever felt a pounding, throbbing or aching feeling in your head after using your device? You may have Computer Vision Syndrome, or more commonly CVS. Computer Vision Syndrome is a term optometrists have given this form of eyestrain for people who look at device screens frequently.

People who look at screened devices all day require their eyes to focus on screen text, which is not as sharp as text found on a piece of paper. We also use our eyes ciliary muscles for extended periods of time to help us focus at short distances. Both of these can lead to eye discomfort and vision strain.

Solutions

One way the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) suggests we combat the symptoms (which fade away after use of the device), is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. The 20-20-20 rule means we should stop staring at our devices every 20 minutes and focus on something else 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to help give our eye muscles a break and rehydrate our eyes.

Check out the video below from the Ontario Association of Optometrists, created to help digital device users break bad screen habits affecting eye health:

Here are four ways you can help reduce digital eyestrain with links to resources for further reading:

  1. Adjust your Display Settings
  2. User Proper Lighting
  3. Exercise your Eyes
  4. Increase Text Size & Colour

Share your tips below for helping combat eye fatigue from digital device usage; we’d love to learn more tricks!

Quizlet: Do You Need It? You Decide!

Study on the go, challenge your friends and engage your students with a fun and mobile quiz application.

Overview

Quizlet is an online study tool available on any device (desktop, iOS, and Android) for students and teachers to practice learning in an engaging way. Any age group of students can use Quizlet either in class, individually or with friends (see how they started).

Key Benefits:

    • Study on the go with Quizlet.
    • Encourage students to take ownership of their learning.
    • Promote in-class engagement using Quizlet Live.

Getting Started

To appreciate the benefits of using Quizlet, you will have first to create a study set and determine how you will deliver the content to the class using the many different study mode options. Below are two videos to help you get started using Quizlet.

Teaching Ideas

Idea 1 – Visual Knowledge Practice (K-12/Higher Ed)

Placing an image in any Quizlet study mode allows the student to review a picture and define what it is they see. An example would be a series of famous paintings from a particular art period where students are required to identify characteristics of the era or movement. The quiz could prompt them to determine the name of the artist’s style, the period, the artist’s name and name of the work. Students can add levels of complexity to their quiz questions as their knowledge on the subject evolves.

Idea 2 – Audio Knowledge Practice (General/K-12)

Using Spell study mode, students can review and test their vocabulary knowledge and “type what they hear” when they hear the audio. Users can also set up Quizlet to read descriptions of an object and have the student identify what it is that they hear labeled. Listening to audio allows students with accessibility challenges to participate and for all students to strengthen their listening skills.

Idea 3 – Vocabulary Strengthening (General/K-12)

Students studying vocabulary can review definitions or attributes of a word or phrase using Quizlet Flashcards. Images can be used to support student memory through repetition delivered in a fun game (remember images are only available in the paid versions). Adjectives can be provided to help students identify the word (noun) associated with the attribute. Students can use descriptive keywords in any language and can assist in strengthening their comprehension. Teachers can create their study sets or choose to explore other educator’s quizzes. Students are also able to search existing quizzes that may support their learning or decide to set up their own.

Helpful Resources

Quizlet.com | How Can Teachers Use Quizlet
A step-by-step guide to setting up your class on Quizlet

Edshelf.com | Quizlet Review
Video: Educator’s overview of Quizlet used for a secondary English class

Ditchthattextbook.com | Game Show Classrooms
Educator’s review of Quizlet, Kahoot and Quizalize features

PCMag.com | Quizlet Review
The pros and cons of using Quizlet

Cost

Free Version

  • Quizlet is available for free with a variety product features. Quizlet for free is available for desktop, mobile (iOS and Android) and is also available as a Google Chrome app.

Paid Version

  • Quizlet Plus is available for $19.99 USD/1 Year or 2 and 3-year discounted subscriptions. Quizlet Plus enables users to create their voice recordings, add their images, study over time with Long-Term learning and study ad-free.
  • Quizlet Teacher is available for $34.99 USD per year. School discounts are available for multiple users and larger groups. Quizlet Teacher enables teachers the ability to add their voice recordings, images and search teacher-created content. Additionally, teachers can use features for managing multiple class activity and student progress. Teachers with a Quizlet Teacher account will receive a specialized “Teacher” badge next to their user name, which means faster support when you need it.

3 Ways to Support Technology in Education (without breaking the bank)

Students today have a lot on their plates, such as school, jobs, volunteer commitments, extracurricular activities, home responsibilities and of course, their social life.

According to Statistics Canada, 85% of Canadians have access to a home computer, 87% have access to home Internet, and 86% have cellular phones.

Good, right?

No.

Why?

Because there are still 15% of households who do not have a cell phone or a computer or an Internet connection and out of that 15%, 42% are from low-income families.

These might be your students next year; they might currently be your students, and they might not tell you about the challenges they face.

We, as educators, can’t fix Canada’s internet access problems (the CRTC is handling that).

What can educators do to help bridge the technological divide in your school and classroom?

A Tech Swap

Similar to a ski swap, communities are invited to participate in a technology sale where participants drop off gently used technology meeting a specific standard (e.g. Under five years old) and can sell it on consignment it for a reduced price or choose to donate the item. A Tech Swap provides students with smaller budgets to access modern technology for a fraction of the original price. The key point here is that the tech cannot be obsolete and has to be able to run the latest operating systems to support the applications used. An online event or a community posting that provides the details of the swap is a good way to ensure people know what schools and students need.

Crowdfunding or Cause Funding

A crowdfunding initiative using GoFundMe or Booster could be helpful for an educator looking to support their classroom technology by setting a goal and requesting donations. Social media can be leveraged to help get the message out about the funding, why the need, and who is initiating the campaign. It is important to outline the funds are being raised to support technology inclusion in the classroom. Bonus points if you can get your local news publications and businesses to help promote it.

Booster allows users to create and sell t-shirts for donations. Students can be involved in the entire campaign process where they are responsible for concept development and design of the t-shirts.

In the U.S. there is a site called DonorsChoose.org, which is used by educators to set up projects for their classrooms to receive financial support. DonorsChoose.org enables individuals to donate to the programs of their choice in any denomination, which enables contributing to a local community cause very simple.

Invest in the Students

In a report conducted by Media Insights, Canadian educators identified “lack of technical support and maintaining software and hardware” as being the number one concern when using technology in their classrooms (Johnson, 2016). As part of the commitment to technology in education, it could be both constructive and inclusive to provide students the opportunity to form a “Tech Support” club, where teams of students can create a group and provide IT support to faculty and staff during scheduled extracurricular programming. Using the student talent pool is a win-win for both participants and school staff. Placing some ownership on the students to contribute to the technology support requirements can help alleviate some of the frustrations surrounding the integration of technology into the curriculum.

I would love to hear how your schools have overcome financial barriers to creating inclusiveness in your classrooms when it comes to technology-supported learning.

Please share in the comments below.


References

Dobby, C. (2016). CRTC rules high-speed Internet a basic service, sets targets. The Globe and Mail.

Dwelling characteristics and household equipment, by province (Canada). (2015). Statcan.gc.ca.

Johnson, M. (2016). Connected to Learn: Teachers’ Experiences with Networked Technologies in the Classroom | MediaSmarts. Mediasmarts.ca.

The Daily — Canadian Internet Use Survey, 2012. (2013). Statcan.gc.ca.

The New Digital Dilemma: Fact or Fiction?

5 Essential Tips for Evaluating Websites

by: Ufuk Yağcı

According to Internet Live Stats, there are over 1 billion websites on the World Wide Web today. With current tools, almost anyone can create a website. Website owners can write, print or publish anything they would like without worrying about the consequences. With the massive information that we are interacting with each day, it is a daunting task to determine what is credible. Here are five quick tips for evaluating websites.

1. Check the Web Address

The first thing you should do is look at the web address for determining credibility. Each web address has a three letter suffix. The suffix “com”, for example, represents commercial companies and does not guarantee the reliability of the website. The following suffixes are more reliable web addresses.

gov or mil Governments and military.
org Primarily used by non-profit groups.
edu or ac Accredited higher education schools.
sch or k12 Accredited K-12 schools.


Is this a personal page?

Even if the web address has one the suffixes listed above, you should also check if it is a personal page. You can check for the personal sites by looking at a personal name (e.g., jwarner or warner) following a tilde (~),  percent sign (%) or the words “users”, “members” or “people”. Personal pages are not necessarily bad, but there is a need to investigate the author carefully.

Is it published by an entity that makes sense?

If it is not a web address with the above reliable suffixes, please check if you have heard of this entity before. For example “www.nytimes.com” is a recognizable news site.

2. Check the Authors

Find out, who the author is. You can find information on the author by looking for information under “About us” or “Philosophy” or “Background” or “Biography”. Try to answer the following questions:

  • Who wrote the pages?
  • What are the author’s credentials on the subject?
  • What else has the author written?
  • Does the author represent a certain political, cultural or social group, organization?

3. Check the Dates

It is important that the information that you are accessing is up-to-date. Please analyze the website and try to answer the following questions:

  • Look for the date “last updated”. This information is usually at the bottom of the web page.
  • If this is a publication, check when it was first published. This information is uually at the top of the page.

If you cannot find the date of a website, do a right click and click on ‘inspect’ or find ‘properties’ to check the date.

4. Check the Purpose and Accuracy

Knowing the motive behind the website’s creation can help you judge on the reliability of the content and whether the information provided has been altered or manipulated in some way to change the meaning.  You can check the “about” link or look at the disclaimers to find information about the purpose of the website.

Ask the following questions:

Why was the page put on the web? Try to understand the agenda and analyze the website taking into consideration the following questions:

Was the page put to inform or give facts? Is it an educational resource? Was the information put to explain, to persuade something? Is there an economic value to this site, are they trying to sell something? Does this website fill any other personal, professional or social needs?

For example, if the purpose of the website is to persuade, then you should examine the material very closely before accepting it for a fact.

Can this be ironic? Satire or parody? Think about the “tone” of the page. Is it humorous or is it a parody? Is it exaggerated? Are there outrageous photographs or unlikely images? snopes.comis a website that collects urban legends and Internet rumors. You can best use this site as a reference for validating photos.

Is the information fact or opinion? Did they cite their sources? Check some of the references.

Crosscheck information with at least two other sites. Can you find the similar information in other reliable sources?

Are there any reviews about this publication or website? Other evaluations can help you determine the credibility of the information.

What is the intended audience? Who is the website address for?

5. Check Relevance & Context

Even if the information on the website is trustworthy, you still need to check if it is relevant to your needs. Try to understand the relevance by asking the following questions:

How is the information relevant to your research? The website may be cool, but is the content appropriate for your research needs?

Are the time period and geographic region relevant to your research?

The readability of the website plays an important role for context. If your content is too small or pale and it is not possible to read them well, then there’s no way for your message to get across.

Here are some questions to run your website content through to evaluate its quality:

Check general format and outlook

  • Are the fonts readable?
  • Are there spelling errors? Spelling and grammar mistakes probably mean that the web page is not trustworthy.
  • Are there photos that are big or out of proportion?
  • Does the website look professional?

Check consistency

  • Do all the links work?
  • If there are links to other pages as sources, are they reliable sources?
  • Are the links well chosen, well organized?
  • Do links represent other viewpoints?
  • Is this site good for some things and not good for other?

Conclusion

If you still have some doubts, trust your instincts and make further inquiries. If something does not look right, it probably is not. If you are still having second thoughts on the validity of the website, please go back and revisit the questions listed above.


Additional Reading

Purdue Online Writing Lab: Evaluating Sources: Overview

Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything: Critical Evaluation of Information


References

Branham, C. (1997, March 27). Evaluating web pages for relevance. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.slu.edu/colleges/AS/ENG/cai/research/page01.html

Harvard guide to using sources. (2017). Evaluating Resources. Retrieved from http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k70847&pageid=icb.page346375

Quackit. (2017). Country domain extensions. Retrieved from http://www.quackit.com/domain-names/country_domain_extensions.cfm

Quackit. (2017). Domain name extension definitions. Retrieved from http://www.quackit.com/domain-names/domain_name_extension_definitions.cfm

SEQ Legal. (2017).Website Disclaimer. Retrieved from http://www.seqlegal.com/free-legal-documents/website-disclaimer

4 Ideas for Using Snapchat in your Classroom!

Is it sustainable to use this hugely popular messaging app in your classroom?

With 71% of users under the age of 34, why wouldn’t you at least try it?

 

shutterstock_395057875

For those of you that aren’t aware, Snapchat is a messaging app that allows users to send and receive messages directly from each other, then disappear once viewed (see How it Works here). Additionally, Snapchat offers users the ability to create stories that can be seen by any follower for 24 hours.

So why on earth would you want to integrate Snapchat into your classroom you ask?

It’s simple.

To communicate and connect with your students in their preferred digital environments.

You’ll want to consider a few things first before you decide if Snapchat is a good fit in your classroom.

  1. Do you want to communicate using chat? Or using stories?
  2. What are the media messaging restrictions in your respective school boards?
  3. What parameters are you working within?

Snapchat Stories 

Stories provide a way for teachers to communicate content and allow students to access this information on their schedule.

Snapchat allows you to send a sequence of short “snaps” of video or images with the addition of text, bitmojis, drawings and geofilters, but instead of directing these to a particular group or individual, stories are published for your follower audience and are available for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, they expire, so students would have to explicitly follow the classroom or teacher and review the feed frequently to see the content.

An example of use would be for a teacher to post content when on a field trip such as sharing a series of videos and images from experience (Sloan, 2016). In higher ed or with older students the teacher could allow takeovers of the account and could be an excellent way to teach digital citizenship. Once parameters are set up, students have the ability to use the school account and engage with the community creatively.

Teachers can send snaps to students in groups to share reminders, congratulate or acknowledge successes and to describe real-world examples by posting images or videos with text overlay. In higher ed teachers will likely have more progressive policies.

Snapchat Messaging

Snapchat messaging is a user-directed way to communicate and may not be suitable for primary age communication (see Snapchat Terms of Service). Once you have determined the connection options, you can then determine which features of Snapchat you will use.

Students must follow the school or classroom and vice-versa to send images and video to each other. For older students, this can be a very engaging way to communicate with teachers and schools. For primary students (13 and older) this may not be available depending on school district privacy policies.

 

Classroom Content Sharing

One way for teachers to create relationships with their students is by connecting with them on digital media. Social media should not be forced on students, however, for those students who do use Snapchat this is a good way to share knowledge in an engaging way (Miller, 2016). Teachers can demonstrate how to use social media appropriately by modeling proper communication use with their accounts. When teachers use Snapchat to create a story related to the content in class, students may be more open to sharing their perceptions and interpretations of knowledge. Because the snaps expire quickly, you can be sure your students are paying attention to the content. The best way to approach this may be to provide your students your account info so they can follow you, as suggested by Madeline Will (Will, 2016). Madeline suggests you simply post stories and allow students to follow you, but to avoid encroaching on their personal profiles you would not follow students back. 

pexels-photo-24087

Give Students a Rich Media Experience

It’s 7 am, and your students have an exam in 2 hours, some are just waking up, some are on the bus to school, and some are in the front seat of their Dads truck. Either way, they’re likely on their smartphones. What if you were on your phone too…sending snaps of questions and mini quiz content to get them pumped up for their test? Perhaps your students are learning a new language, why not have them take pictures of items and share the name of that object in the language they’re studying? Students and teachers can practice vocabulary and use images to define and demonstrate terminology learned in class (Lee, 2016). All of these are examples of how you can use Snapchat to create a rich media experience for your students. You can’t guarantee that all your students will view your snaps and stories, and you shouldn’t force them to, but for those interested in extending their learning into this medium, why not make it fun!

Do you use social media to communicate in your classrooms? If so, have you tried using Snapchat yet?

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences below.


Additional Reading 

  1. Does Snapchat have a place in the classroom
    http://blog.learningsciences.com/2015/06/23/does-snapchat-have-a-place-in-the-classroom-social-media-for-teachers/
  2. 3 Ways Snapchat can help schools engage with students
    http://crescerance.com/3-ways-snapchat-can-help-schools-engage-with-students/
  3. Teachers are starting to use Snapchat are you?
    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2016/06/teachers_snapchat_guide.html

References

Lee, J. (2016). 10 Seconds At A Time, A Teacher Tries Snapchat To Engage Students. NPR.org. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/03/29/467091289/how-teachers-are-using-snapchat

Will, M. (2016). Teachers Are Starting to Use Snapchat. Should You?. Education Week – Teaching Now. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2016/06/teachers_snapchat_guide.html

Sloan, C. (2016). It’s Time to Consider Snapchat’s Classroom Potential. KQED Learning. Retrieved 25 February 2017, from https://ww2.kqed.org/learning/2016/05/25/its-time-to-consider-snapchats-classroom-potential/

Are there Health Risks with WiFi?

Radiation is used to treat malignant tumors, x-rays can help doctors diagnose internal injuries, and we are all exposed to various types of radiation through radio waves, televisions, and cellphones. Lately, questions have been raised in Ontario to the health risks related to WiFi emissions.

In recent years, leaders in the health field, politicians, and even school boards have attempted to mitigate the perceived threat of exposure to radio-frequency (RF) electromagnetic (EM) radiation, on which WiFi, radios, microwaves, Bluetooth, and mobile and cordless phones operate. The perceived threat of RF exposure might have been exacerbated when, in May 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a document from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which classified these types of EM emissions as a Group 2B, “possibly carcinogenic” agent to humans – alongside with other substances like aloe vera and carrageenan – for which the evidence of deleteriousness is uncertain. Since the update of this WHO document, many health experts have raised concerns about the risks associated with mobile phones; political leaders have gone on the record warning the public of potential health risks that can be incurred through the use of WiFi, and unions, including the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, are calling for a moratorium on WiFi device use in schools suggesting an outright ban of the technologies.

However, do we actually know the health effects of RF exposure, and, in particular, the risks associated with WiFi use? Let’s look at some of the potential health hazards related to WiFi use; what WiFi supporters are saying, and methods of lowering personal exposure to WiFi emissions.

Potential Health Concerns

1. Disturbances to Sleeping Patterns

A study conducted in 2007 by Hung, Anderson, Horne, and McEvoy evaluated low-frequency modulation transmissions from cellphones and its impact on sleep. Study participants were exposed to emissions produced by real phones through ‘talk’, ‘listen’, and ‘standby’ modes or interacted with sham (fake) phones. Subjects who engaged in talk mode had a markedly delayed sleep onset in relation to participants who engaged in listen and sham modes. Researchers also noticed that different frequencies and strengths in emission modulations (2, 8, and 217 Hz) could affect sleep onset differently.

Many researchers have concluded that keeping a phone near your bed, being exposed to in-home WiFi signals, or interacting with WiFi technologies prior to engaging in sleep can create chronic sleep disorders as EM pollution interferes with falling asleep and establishing healthy sleeping patterns (Bordely, Huber, Graf, Fuchs, Gallmann, & Achermann, 1999; Hung, Anderson, Horne, & McEvoy, 2007; National Sleep Foundation, 2014). Sleep deprivation is just the beginning to larger health problems. Decreases in sleep duration and delayed sleep onset can result in the development of depression and anxiety (Adams, Daly, & Williford, 2013; Cain & Gradisar, 2010; Harbard, Allen, Trinder, & Bei, 2016; Munezawa et al., 2011).

2. Effects to Cell Function and Growth

Exposure to non-ionizing, low-frequency EM emissions from WiFi technology and cellular devices can disrupt the development and growth of cells (Makker, Varghese, Desai, & Agarwal, 2009; Hardell & Sage, 2008). A 2009 Austrian study found that the expression levels of 38 cytoskeletal proteins (proteins that form the supporting tissue of a cell) had changed after being exposed to cellphone EM radiation (The AUVA Report, 2009). These researchers were able to determine that different tissues had varying sensitivities to EM emissions, and that cellphone radiation exposure caused “a notable change in protein synthesis profiles” (AUVA Report, 2009, p. 4). Consequently, members of the population with disease or pathophysiological conditions might see their symptoms worsen and some neurological disorders can be triggered by high rates of protein synthesis (AUVA, 2009; Makker et al., 2009).

3. Impedes Neural Function in Females

A study conducted at the National Technical University of Athens examined the influence of electromagnetic fields, similar to those that are emitted by WiFi systems, on activity within the brain (Maganioti et al., 2014). Fifteen male and fifteen female subjects performed short term memory tasks without being exposed to any EM emissions. These participants were then exposed to a 2.4 GHz WiFi access point at a distance of 1.5 meters from the right side of the head. Each non-exposure and exposure interval lasted 45 minutes. Two weeks later, participants then performed the same memory tasks in the same intervals two weeks later. Researchers noticed that in the presence of radiation, the alpha and beta band energies of male subjects were unaffected. However, in female subjects, these same energies were significantly lower. Researchers evaluated the condition of delta and theta band energies in both male and female participants, with no noteworthy effect between genders. Conversely, there was a significant interaction effect on the alpha and beta wave forms in some of the participants (Maganioti et al., 2014). This study has shown that WiFi signal emissions can influence normal physiological conditions by changing gender related corticol excitability in the alpha and beta rhythmic waveforms.

What do we know?

Different technologies emit different levels of EM radiation. Vecchia et al., (2009) from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) conducted reviews on the health effects of EM emission exposure, particularly the radiation that is emitted by cellphones and WiFi access points. The commission concluded that mobile phones radiation exposure is localized to the head, and is relatively low EM intensity radiation. WiFi emissions are absorbed by the whole body at much lower intensities than those produced by mobile phones. When study participants reported symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, or fatigue, researchers were not able to causally relate EM emission exposure to these changes in health conditions. These conclusions supported findings from Public Health England where signals from WiFi routers are “typically 0.1 watt (100 milliwatts) …and the results so far show exposures are well within the internationally-accepted guidelines from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).” Whether these small changes in functional performance are significant remains elusive, and more robust research is required to determine the nature and consequences of these effects as they relate to EM emission exposure.

The ICNIRP report (2009) also noted that there are some indications that EM emissions could influence blood flow in different cerebral regions, thought to correlate to changes in neural activity, particularly in the alpha and beta rhythms, during and following EM radiation exposure. However, it is unclear as to the reliability of findings because no consistent effects on cognitive performance have been found.

Regarding the impacts of RF radiation on cell development and growth, a review of evidence by Health Canada stated, “As long as RF energy levels remain below Health Canada’s RF safety guidelines, current scientific evidence supports the assertion that RF energy emissions from Wi-Fi devices are not harmful.” These conclusions are in line with the findings with other international bodies and regulators, including the WHO, the ICNIRP, Public Health England, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Potential Precautions

Ultimately, it is the choice of the user to take necessary precautions to guard against potential harmful emissions. WiFi technology has only been a ubiquitous technology for a short period of time (between 15-20 years). Even Health Canada, the WHO, and the IEEE have recommended that more research is needed to determine if there are links between RF radiation, cancer, and cognitive dysfunction.  But in the meantime, if you wanted to lower RF emission exposures from mobile phones for yourself and your children, you can follow these guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics Cell Phone Safety Tips for Families:

  • Use text messaging when possible, and use cell phones in speaker mode or with the use of hands-free kits.
  • When talking on the cell phone, try holding it an inch or more away from your head.
  • Make only short or essential calls on cell phones.
  • Avoid carrying your phone against the body like in a pocket, sock, or bra. Cell phone manufacturers can’t guarantee that the amount of radiation you’re absorbing will be at a safe level.
  • If you plan to watch a movie on your device, download it first, then switch to airplane mode while you watch in order to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
  • Keep an eye on your signal strength (i.e. how many bars you have). The weaker your cell signal, the harder your phone has to work and the more radiation it gives off. It’s better to wait until you have a stronger signal before using your device.
  • Avoid making calls in cars, elevators, trains, and buses. The cell phone works harder to get a signal through metal, so the power level increases.

Additionally, WiFi users can lower RF radiation exposure in several ways:

  • Turn off your WiFi before sleeping.
  • Eliminate WiFi by installing ethernet cable or ActionTec box sets.
  • Disable wireless functions on your devices when not in use.

Have you experienced any health effects from RF exposure? Do you take precautions to minimize your RF exposure? Please provide any additional information, research, and experiences in the comment section below.

References

  1. Adams, S. K., Daly, J. F., & Williford, D. N. (2013). Adolescent sleep and cellular phone use: Recent trends and implications for research. In Health Services Insights, 6, 99-103. doi: 10.4137/HIS.S11083
  2. Austrian AUVA Insurance Company. (2009). AUVA Report: Nonthermal effects confirmed; exposure limits challenged; precaution demanded. Retrieved from http://www.emrpolicy.org/news/headlines/2009_auva-report_english.pdf
  3. Bordely, A. A., Huber, R., Graf, T., Fuchs, B., Gallmann, E., & Achermann, P. (1999). Pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic field affects human sleep and sleep electroencephalogram. In Neuroscience Letters, 275(3), 207-210. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.uproxy.library.dc-uoit.ca/science/article/pii/S0304394099007703
  4. Cain, N., & Gradisar, M. (2010). Electronic media use and sleep in school-aged children and adolescents: A review. In Sleep Medicine, 11(8), 735-742. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2010.02.006
  5. Harbard, E., Allen, N. B., Trinder, J., & Bei, B. (2016). What’s keeping teenagers up? Prebedtime behaviors and actigraphy-assessed sleep over school and vacation. In Journal of Adolescent Health, 58(4), 426-432. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.12.011
  6. Hardell, L., & Sage, C. (2008). Biological effects from electromagnetic field exposure and public exposure standards. In Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 62(2), 104-109. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2007.12.004
  7. Hung, C., Anderson, C., Horne, J. A., & McEvoy, P. (2007). Mobile phone ‘talk mode’ signal delays EEG-determined sleep onset. In Neuroscience Letters, 421(1), 82-86. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2007.05.027
  8. Maganioti, A. E., Papageorgiou, C. C., Hountala, C. D., Kyprianou, M. A., Rabavilas, A. D., Papadimitriou, G. N., & Capsalis, C. N. (2014). Wi-Fi electromagnetic fields exert gender related alterations on EEG. In Retrieved from http://www.wifiinschools.org.uk/resources/Maganioti+etal+2010.pdf
  9. Makker, K., Varghese, A., Desai, N. R., & Agarwal, A. (2009). Cell phones: modern man’s nemesis? In Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 18(1), 148-157. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1472-6483(10)60437-3
  10. Munezawa, T., Kaneita, Y., Osaki, Y., Kanda, H., Minowa, M., Suzuki, K., … Ohida, T. (2011). The association between use of mobile phones after lights out and sleep disturbances among Japanese adolescents: A nationwide cross-sectional survey. In SLEEP, 34(8), 1013-1020. doi: 10.5665/SLEEP.1152
  11. National Sleep Foundation. (2014). 2014 sleep in America poll: Sleep in the modern family. Retrieved from https://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/2014-NSF-Sleep-in-America-poll-summary-of-findings—FINAL-Updated-3-26-14-.pdf

How Technology and Activity Can Keep You from Technology and Inactivity

You’ve heard all the studies that suggest technology makes you lazy and dumb. What you don’t hear is how to use technology to promote activity both in the mind and body.

I won’t deny that my increased use of technology has at one point, increased my level of inactivity. I was usually on the couch doing my school work or checking my social media accounts instead of going for a walk in the neighbourhood or riding my bike on a nearby bike trail. My new wallet is now my iPhone. Besides having my contact list on there, I also have there, my rewards cards, my GPS app – Waze to get me around and my easy access to all accounts that require a password. Why do I need to remember anything?

Technology has simplified our lives to the point that it can have a negative impact on our health and mind. Our 21st century digital age is not the first time this problem has occurred.  It was first discussed when our society made the shift from the Agrarian society to the Industrial Age. Taking the elevator instead of climbing the stairs or driving your car to the local grocery store instead of riding your bike with the grocery basket on the handlebars. We have always made the adjustment in our activity level with the advancement of technology. The digital age is no different. I will introduce some methods of how the use of technology can help you maintain or even increase your activity level.  We will look at the uses of your laptop and your smartphone.

Laptop Use and Activity Level

It is not always necessary to be sitting at a desk or lying down on your couch working on your laptop. When working on your laptop, set a timer on your PC, to allow you to get up and walk around or stretch every 30 minutes. In my classroom, I have an activity website www.gonoodle.com that I have the kids watch and do the activities for 5 minutes midway through their period of French class. You can also use this site at home while working in your room.  This can result in noticeable health gains such as increased circulation and energy. If you are required to spend long periods of time on a computer, it’s essential to create a schedule on your PC to remind you of when to take breaks. There is also a web-based tool, Workout Timer which you can download from the Chrome web store. Active Video Games (AVG) can provide users with the opportunity to practice skills and increase physical competence (Martin et al, 2015)

Smartphone Use and Activity Level

The use of smartphones for messaging, blogging and taking pictures can also be extended to promoting an active lifestyle. If you are a person who always has your smartphone attached to you, you can download many apps that can measure and track your fitness level. Pacer is an app that can help you maintain or increase your activity level through walking, running, or cycling. It can help build healthy eating habits and lose weight. You can find a list of recommended pedometer apps fitness apps, and running apps that can suit your lifestyle. The ability to know your activity level using a device can help motivate you to maintain an active lifestyle.

There is always hope of maintaining an active lifestyle, even with everyone being connected. What we, as a generation, need to do is to know how to use the technology to be creative in managing and maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. Blaming technology for an inactive lifestyle is not the route to take.

Furthur Readings

Technology and Sitting Too Much

Technology and Neck Strain

Are Wearables, Trackers, and Apps the Answer to our Inactivity Crisis?

References

Martin, N.J. ;Ameluxen-Coleman, E. J.;Heinrichs, D. M., Innovative Ways to Use Modern Technology to Enhance, Rather than Hinder, Physical Activity among YouthJournal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance; Apr 2015; 86, 4; ERIC pg. 46