May 7, 2024
Emerging Technologies, Teach-Tech-Talks (TTT), Teaching and Learning
Image of Dr Jennie Donohue

Technology is a cornerstone of modern education, yet knowing when to embrace it and when to step back is key. Dr. Jennie Donohue, Senior Lecturer II and Director of the Public Relations Concentration in the Journalism Department, in the College of Social & Behavioral Science (SBS) – and an experienced mindfulness instructor – presented her strategies for making thoughtful tech choices in the classroom at the IDEAS Teach-Tech-Talks (TTT) series on April 10, 2024. Combining her deep understanding of mindfulness with her educational expertise, Dr. Donohue creates focused, effective learning environments where technology and mindfulness are embraced. 

The Importance of Balance

Dr. Donohue’s primary goal is to balance the use of technology with the need to disconnect sometimes. This practice is crucial in our personal lives and educational settings where technology is integral to the curriculum. She emphasized the importance of helping students understand the role of technology in their future industries. Whether communicating with large audiences like donors and investors or bridging communication gaps with the public, technology can be a powerful tool. However, she also highlighted the irreplaceable value of in-person interactions.

Mindfulness in the Classroom

One of Dr. Donohue’s key approaches is integrating mindfulness into the classroom to help students be more present – and less on autopilot. Mindfulness practices can:

  • Encourage Awareness and Empathy: students can learn to be more patient, caring, and empathetic.
  • Support Handling Sensitive Topics: students can more thoughtfully process these discussions in classes that involve intense topics or traumatic experiences.
  • Enhance Concentration: students can improve focus on course content
  • Support students’ social-emotional learning: students and instructor overall wellbeing can be prioritized.

Setting the Stage for Mindful Learning

Dr. Donohue begins each semester by incorporating contemplative practices into her syllabus. She established a mindful communication policy to set the tone for the class. This includes starting each session with mindfulness practices to create a positive learning environment and asking students to express their needs, thus giving them a sense of agency.

Select a section title below to find out more about these mindful learning strategies.

Dr. Donohue’s approach to integrating mindfulness and technology in education offers a blueprint for educators looking to nurture a more attentive, empathetic, and effective learning environment. Educators and students can benefit greatly by making mindful choices about when and how to use technology, achieving a balanced and enriching educational experience.

Read more articles on TTT and stay tuned for our next session!