This year will be formally remembered not only for COVID-19 but also for a reassessment of education and business through the virtual world. The shift from in-person interactions to online education and business is now a central theme. While schools and businesses were startled in March, throughout the world people are now seeing these virtual platforms as indispensable.
This fast-paced, social, economic, and technological change is redefining our world. As we sit day after day in front of our computer screens, we become less active and our behavior patterns have changed.
As an educator who teaches across the screen, my year began with coaxing students out of bed even, sometimes as late as 1:00 PM. Within one week I had my students on camera, live, and working out safely in their homes. We have had shy siblings, parents, and not so shy pets joining them on a daily basis.
Students, who used to request my advice on how to get rid of the “Freshman 10”, are now seeking advice on how to get rid of the “COVID-19 30”.
From one year to the next, you couldn’t really see a difference, but as the years cumulated the story has become clear. We have been in a physical inactivity pandemic! But now, with COVID-19, our inactivity has taken on an unprecedented scale and created students in bed in the early afternoon, workers sitting long hours, and families stuck in a debilitating rut.
With seasonal changes and cooler weather still at bay, I decided to take on students, teachers, and those who are sitting for days end at their screen with a challenge. I grabbed my phone and began videoing myself in front of some famous and some not so famous landmarks, in cities, creating a 2-3 minute stretch videos with a locational challenge.
The stretches are simple, quick, and fun and the challenges vary from simple to somewhat difficult at times. But all in all, they were created as a quick engagement for all people who need a quick break in between classes, zoom meetings, or who just need to virtually travel outside of their homes.
View Computer Break Videos:
The videos shared in this blog have inspired teachers from other cities to provide exercises with local venue changes, so that the students can see their teachers in their own neighborhoods. I encourage everyone to create their own adaptations to keep their minds and bodies going. Although this quick stretch is absolutely not meant to replace a full workout, or take away from a nature walk, it at least it gives people the opportunity to take a quick moment away from the computer and take some time for themselves, even if it is only 2-3 minutes.
As we redefine ourselves, education, business, and priorities, let’s remember a powerful part of the solution is taking the time to move. Movement is fundamental for positive growth, health, and wellbeing. It is also an essential way to foster the skills of creativity, engagement, and optimism. Let’s make us all better off by getting off our computers and taking time for our physical selves.
Melinda Wilson holds a M.Ed. from DePaul University and an M.A. from the University of Illinois with additional coursework at Northwestern University. She has trained at Batsheva Dance Company (Tel-Aviv), Pineapples (London), and Centre de Danse du Marias (Paris) and has been a pick-up dancer with American Ballet Theatre, David Dorfman Dance and Urban Bush Women. Her awards include Top 50 Global Teacher Award, Golden Apple Award, Dance Chicago Outstanding Choreographer (New Voice) Award, IAHPERD Teacher of the Year, SHAPE National Dance Teacher of the Year, as well as first place choreographic awards from Livorno in Danza International Competition and Barcelona Dance Grand Prix. Wilson has been featured in Tes Education Magazine (United Kingdom), Dance Magazine and various national and international webinars. Wilson is a teacher of Ballet, and Jazz at American Rhythm Center, resident choreographer for Her Story Theater and Dance Artistic Director at Curie Metropolitan High School for the Performing and Technical Arts and Advanced Placement Arts at Gallery 37. She is also the founder of Elite Dance Events & Per4mers4Change promoting positive active citizenship through the power of performance and youth.