(the other) Pete here with a slight departure from my normal rant (although I will post a game-related entry about Minecraft later this month!)
I was delayed in my monthly foray into the blogosphere not for business nor laziness, but because I had involuntary laser eye surgery this past week. Note, involuntary means that it *was* covered by insurance, but not necessarily sight-enhancing. While I was hoping that I may obtain a super power, such as x-ray vision or flight, my experience included many more headaches and blurry emails than life altering improvements. Regardless of my complaints, I will have the luxury of announcing to crowds once this ordeal is over in a couple of weeks that I have both of my eyes pierced, a bit of data that will be technically true and worth any potential cred with the Twilight crowd (there is still a Twilight crowd, right?)
Inspired by this ultimately significant event in my life, I have deleted my previous attempt at a post (will still come later!) to be replaced with…
(the other) Pete’s Rule(s) for Eye Safety at iD Tech Camps
I actually only have one rule per se, but there are many parts, so there may be various interpretations!
My role at iD is to get everyone having a fun, safe and social activity time. Instruction periods at our summer day camps and overnight summer camps have a major impact on everyone’s ability to participate to their fullest. If the campers are getting too antsy during instruction time, they may have a hard time focusing during activity time – and that can lead to major problems. Our instructors are well trained to keep the campers engaged and motivated throughout the lessons.
There is a bigger possible issue, though, that I have to enforce and reinforce that is difficult to observe during a screen-based class: Computer Vision Syndrome. CVS is basically the reason that I wear glasses (before the piercing, of course). Staring at a computer non-stop for hours on end is not good for one’s vision. Similar eye strain can happen during our photography courses or film programs for teens even when the campers are not on the computer. Campers have a particularly difficult time understanding this because they generally have strong eyes and stronger wills!
The accepted way to combat this temporary strain on the eyes is the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. I did not make this rule up, but I do share the idea with our instructors every season to help them understand the importance of protecting the campers’ eyes.
I take a slightly different tactic, though, than to simply encourage a straight up 20-20-20 rule – mostly because that seems kind of boring. Instead of simply forcing the campers to stare out the window, I strongly suggest that every 20 minutes the instructors take a break that involves leaving the computer lab – if only for a couple minutes. This allows the campers to take a nature break and get the blood flowing through their bodies, which I suspect helps concentration, focus and memory retention. At first, veteran instructors are very resistant to such constant breaks, but after trials and some customization, many come around to realize the project quality improves and the campers are more productive. Plus, there are far less unanticipated interruptions which means that the instructor does not have to repeat themselves, definitely a major plus!
All of these potential benefits, simply for saving the eyes of our campers 😉