DisruptED TV Magazine
Cultivating Kindness with Technology
By: Tamara Letter, M.Ed.
As a technology integrator in a public school system, people are sometimes surprised to discover my joy in teaching lessons emphasizing kindness. After all, much of my job focuses on supporting students and teachers with their passions, not necessarily mine. However, when we can find ways to align our passion with our profession, we often discover our purpose in the process.
Four years ago, I brought my passion for kindness into the school building with a kindness blogging club, encouraging students to share their stories of kindness with the world. Since then, I’ve helped teachers implement year-long kindness initiatives in their classrooms, complete Kindness Passion Projects, and even celebrate kindness with Kindness Share Fair days.
If you are looking for ways to cultivate kindness with technology, here are five ways to get started today!
Be intentional. While we often use the phrase “random acts of kindness,” many acts of kindness are not random at all! How can we intentionally cultivating kindness with technology? Use it as a tool for implementation. Start your day with a quick email complimenting a coworker or friend. Guide students in creating kindness posters using Google Slides or Canva to display around the school. Use Skype, Google Hangouts, or live streaming on YouTube to reading kindness-themed books to other classrooms. Make a plan for kindness to promote positivity on a daily basis.
Share gratitude on a digital platform. “Who are you grateful for and why?” When I ask this question to students, I often receive a surface level display of thanks that quickly transforms into personal storytelling as students make connections from classmates’ experiences. Use Padlet, Flipgrid, or Seesaw to create shout-outs of thankfulness then share to social media to inspire the world. If you are a Twitter user, check out the hashtag #gratitudesnaps, created by Tara Martin and Tisha Richmond. It is sure to make you smile!
Capture kindness with photos. Did you know there is a World Kindness Day? On November 13, 2017, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/) launched their #CaptureKindness campaign, which included fourteen weekly challenges to spotlight kindness in the world. Visual imagery is powerful; up to two-thirds of the electrical activity in our brain occurs from vision when our eyes are open. (https://www.imagethink.net/true-or-false-vision-rules-the-brain/) Imagine the impact of our social media feeds flooded by kindness images. By shifting our mindset to focus on the positive things we experience, versus the negative, we not only adjust our perception of the world around us, but also inspire others to do the same.
Inspire others through kindness curation. I love using Pinterest boards to save kindness-themed ideas. I have boards for Kindness Quotes, lesson activities, and my own kindness-themed blog posts. On Twitter, I use the hashtag #passionforkindness to curate tweets or responses aligned with kindness; on Instagram every other post in my feed is either an inspiration quote or kindness call-to-action. I even have a Facebook Group dedicated to sharing a passion for kindness! Whichever digital platform you choose, each post you make has the power inspire. Share often!
Share your kindness stories. Everyone has a story to share. It’s true! Whether you received a kind act from a stranger or you initiated a grand gesture for a friend, your story matters. When I began my kindness journey in 2012, I was terrified to write about my experiences for public consumption. It would have been easy to keep my light hidden away from the world to see. However, I overcame my fear, started sharing my stories, and now I can look back and see the multitude of gardens that created by my small seeds planted. I’m even writing a book about kindness to be published by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. in early 2019! If you like to write, post on a blog or website and share your stories. If you prefer to talk, create a podcast, or inquire about speaking on someone else’s show. Maybe you’re an artist, or composer, or sports enthusiast. Look for the kind moments around you and share your stories!
The beautiful thing about cultivating kindness with technology is anyone can do it, no matter the age or skill level, as long as you have access to a digital device. Our world is rapidly changing with new tools and platforms created daily. Don’t allow yourself, or those around you, to be swept away by the riptides of negativity. If we want to see kindness, we need to be kindness. Harness the power of technology to showcase the good and inspire the world!