I injured myself this week. I was frantically trying to get some templates created and in the process injured my hand through repeating the same mouse movements over and over again. I couldn’t believe a) how much it hurt and b) how much it impacted my productivity. So yesterday I went out and bought myself a very expensive ergonomic mouse (not the one pictured) and couldn’t believe how comfortable it was.
This has gotten me thinking about my responsibilities as IT coordinator at my school. I am in the process of encouraging teachers to use more technology in their classrooms, which by default means they will probably be spending more time working on computers. The state of our school budget being what it is most of the teachers (myself included) are working on reconditioned computers with old keyboards and mice (mouses?). A quick survey of teacher desks reveals that most of them have positioned their screen at the side of their desk so they have to turn to see it, and no-one has their keyboard in the correct position. I am also championing netbooks at our school as a way to move towards 1:1. The small screens, keyboards and ease with which they can be used anywhere seems to be to be a recipe for repetitive stress injuries. In light of my recent injuries I believe that this is not sustainable.
I realise that I need to start lobbying our administration to find some money for teacher training and upgrading of keyboards and mice. It makes no sense to get everyone excited about using technology only to have them all come down with repetitive stress injuries. I’m curious how other schools and school districts are approaching this issue? Are there any exemplars out there of schools taking a really proactive approach regarding RSI?
photo by morgret on flickr