St. Paul's School Symposium

More Than 140 Educators from Across the Country Convene for Symposium on Empathy, Intimacy, and Technology at St. Paul’s School


CONCORD, N.H. – More than 140 school administrators and educators from across the United States convened at St. Paul’s School to discuss the impact of technology on the emotional health and development of youth during a three-day symposium titled, “Empathy, Intimacy, and Technology in a Boarding School Environment,” June 15-17.
 
Participants came from 50 different schools across the academic spectrum, including public, independent, boarding, and single-sex secondary and middle schools, as well as higher education, to form recommendations on best practices to foster healthy interpersonal relationships among students, as well as adults, within school communities, and create ways to decipher the real-time and digital identities of youth.
 
The symposium opened with presentations by leading experts in the fields of youth, technology, and their intersection: Sherry Turkle, the founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self; danah boyd, principal researcher at Microsoft Research and an academic scholar with a focus on relationship of technology and society; Donna Freitas, non-resident research associate at the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame; and Catherine Steiner-Adair, a research associate in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an associate psychologist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. Columbia University sociologist and St. Paul’s School alumnus Shamus Khan moderated the panel.
 
Symposium attendees spent the subsequent two days in working groups discussing the issues in-depth in areas such as academic curriculum, counseling and student support, inclusivity and identity, policy and procedure, prevention and intervention, school-parent relationships and collaboration, and school culture.
 
St. Paul’s School has received a grant from The Edward E. Ford Foundation to underwrite the publication of the findings, and the final product will be available for peer institutions. Go to www.sps.edu/symposium for more.
 
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Speaker Bios

danah boyd is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and an academic scholar whose work examines the intersection between technology and society, and how young people use social media as part of their everyday practices. Boyd is the author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (Penguin, 2014). Her current focus is on the social and cultural dimensions of the “big data” phenomenon and its relationship with privacy and the civil rights implications of data analytics.
 
Donna Freitas is a professor and scholar who lectures at universities across the United States on her work about college students. Over the years, she has written for national newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. She is the author of Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses (Oxford, 2008), based on her national study about how sex and faith coincide (and collide) on campus. Her most recent study centers around how social media is affecting the ways young adults construct identity and navigate relationships, and is the subject of her forthcoming book, The Happiness Effect (Oxford, Sept. 2016). Freitas is currently a non-resident research associate at the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame.
 
Shamus Khan is the author of Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School (Princeton, 2011), and associate professor of sociology at Columbia University. Khan writes about cultural sociology and stratification, with a strong focus on elites. Khan also writes in the areas of gender theory, deliberative politics, and research methodology. He recently served as an opinion columnist for Time Magazine and continues to write about sociology in the popular press.
 
Catherine Steiner-Adair is a clinical psychologist, school consultant, speaker, and author of the award-winning The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age (Harper Collins, 2013). Dr. Steiner-Adair speaks and consults on a wide range of topics, including social and emotional literacy, nourishing healthy relationships in the digital age, and developing a thoughtful approach to technology in school and life. She is a research associate in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an associate psychologist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass.
 
Sherry Turkle has spent the last 30 years researching the psychology of people’s relationships with technology, from the early days of personal computers to our current world of robotics, artificial intelligence, social networking, and mobile connectivity. She is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT, as well as the founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Her best-selling book, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age (Penguin, 2015), focuses on the importance of conversation in digital cultures.
 
 
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